Fall season reminder: Protect yourself from falling, injuries related to fallsOct 11, 2021
Falls account for majority of injuries reported in Emergency Rooms
San Antonio, TX - Despite what most people may think, the majority of trauma calls in San Antonio are not for car accidents, shootings or other violence. Of all emergency trauma transports to Baptist Health System hospitals, a whopping 72 percent are a result of people falling. More than 90 percent of those are considered a fall from standing/ground level. Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans.
Every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Falls result in more than 3 million injuries in the elderly treated in emergency departments in the U.S. annually, including more than 800,000 hospitalizations and more than 39,000 deaths. Falls are a huge problem but falling is not an inevitable result of aging. With the fall season and the holidays not far away, Baptist Health System trauma experts want to remind the community to practice safety measures to avoid falling and sustaining what could be life-threating and life-changing injuries.
Safety tips to protect yourself from falls in the home:
- Make sure all handrails are not broken and are securely fastened.
- Both sides of the steps should have handrails.
FLOORS AND RUGS
- Make sure all floorboards are even and rugs, including area rugs, are secured to the floor with tacks, non-skid pads or double-sided tape.
- Use non-skid floor wax.
- Be sure that you can move safely in bathroom area, and in and out of the tub or shower.
- Remove soap build-up in tub or shower on a regular basis.
- Place non-slip strips in bath/shower.
- Install adjustable height showerheads.
- Mount grab bars along the wall near the toilet, bath and shower. Use secure reinforcements to prevent the bars from coming loose.
- Secure bath mats with non-slip, double-sided rug tape.
- Items that you use frequently, such as dishes and food items, should be easy to reach.
- If a step stool is needed to be used, make sure that it is sturdy and has a bar at the top to hold on to.
- Place nightlights in hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms and stairways.
- Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs.
- Place a lamp (and telephone) near your bed.
- Keep lighting uniform in each room and add lighting to dark spaces.
- Move newspapers, boxes, electrical and phone cords, plants, and furniture out of traffic areas.
- Store clothing, bed coverings, and other household items where you can reach them comfortably.
OTHER ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR PROTECTING YOURSELF AGAINST FALLS:
- Assess your home to identify fall hazards and making the necessary changes to prevent them are significant steps.
- It’s also very important to:
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about the effects of the prescription and nonprescription medications you are taking. Some medications can cause dizziness or light-headedness that can lead to falls. As people age, the effects of medications may change.
- Be sure to have your eyes checked every year. Vision problems can cause falls.
- Check with your physician about the physical activity and exercise appropriate for you.
- Stay as physically active as you can. Exercise helps to prevent falls, especially activities that enhance balance and coordination.
- Be careful in choosing shoes as they can cause you to trip. The soles should be non-slip and not too thick.
(Source: U.S. CDC)