Where Do Falls In The Elderly Occur The Most?
Elderly people can fall pretty much anywhere at any time; however, there are some places where elderly people are more likely to fall than others.
In this article, we will outline where these areas are, why the elderly are more likely to fall in these areas, and what you can do to help prevent falls from happening.
The vast majority of older people prefer to live independently, with only 4% in care homes1, and as a result, the majority of falls occur in older people’s homes.
But which areas of the home present the biggest risk?
Falling while climbing the stairs is a very scary prospect for older people, and if this does occur, the risk of injury is very high. Thankfully, falls on the stairs are relatively uncommon because most often older people choose to live in single-story houses as they get older.
A data survey carried out by stopfalls.org on home-related falls shows that 10% of accidents happen in hallways. Hallways can often be cluttered and badly lit, both of which contribute to the risk of an older person falling over.
Bathrooms are one of the most common areas for an elderly person to fall in, largely due to the fact that the floors are often slippery, especially when wet. And unfortunately, the consequences of falling in a bathroom are often serious, due to the fact that the floors, walls and even the furniture in bathrooms typically have hard and cold surfaces.
4. Bedrooms and Living Rooms
Falling in the bedroom or living room is also relatively common, due to a couple of reasons. Firstly, an older person’s body is usually slower and stiffer after being inactive for several hours2, making the risk of falling higher after napping or sleeping. Secondly, and in a similar way to hallways, living rooms can often be cluttered and there is typically a lot of furniture to trip up on.
There are approximately 400,000 care home residents in the UK, and care home residents are three times more likely to fall than people living independently in their own homes3. That equates to a rate of 1.5 falls per care home bed per year.
The main reason for this is simply that residents of care homes are more likely to be physically frail, compared to those living independently, meaning they are at a greater risk of falling.
How do you reduce the risk of falls in care homes?
A fall in a care home is nearly always due to the presence of one or more risk factors.
Recognising these risks and removing or reducing an individual’s risk can often prevent a fall, and because of this, all residents who are being admitted to a care home should have a thorough falls assessment completed4.
Whilst the emphasis should always be on anticipating and preventing falls, if the care home isn’t suitably equipped to assess and respond to falls themselves, residents can be left on the floor, sometimes for hours, while waiting for an ambulance to attend to lift the resident.
According to the National Audit of Inpatient Falls, falls are the most frequently reported safety incident affecting hospital inpatients, with 247,000 falls occurring in inpatient settings each year in England alone5.
The unfamiliar environment, acute illness, surgery, medications, treatments, and the placement of various tubes and catheters are some of the common challenges that increase an older person’s risk of falling in a hospital6.
What can you do to reduce the risk of falls in your hospital?
In a similar way to care homes, older patients should always have a falls risk assessment completed on admission, and appropriate measures should be put in place if the person is at risk of falling.
Multifactorial assessments linked to appropriate interventions have been consistently suggested to reduce falls in hospitals by 20–30%7.
When falls do occur, a hospital needs effective measures in place to safely assess whether the fallen person can be lifted, and the appropriate equipment should be used to lift the patient off the floor.
Lifting equipment such as flat lifts or Raizer lifting chairs are common choices for hospitals, with most hospitals having more than one option to cater to different types of patients.
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