“Which is the deadliest room in the house?” Of course, falls can occur anywhere and at any time, so the best approach is prevention. Accreditation Canada requires organizations that provide home care services to incorporate falls prevention as part of their staff training.
Generally, safety proofing the home includes identifying and then correcting tripping hazards such as improving poor lighting, removing or taping down scatter rugs, and removing telephone/electric cords that pose a risk. It also includes checking for slippery and uneven surfaces, lack of handrails on stairs, lack of grab bars near the bathing and toilet areas and may even include checking which shoes are worn in the house.
Often slippers can be a culprit, especially those that offer no support or easily slip off the foot. In addition to safeguarding the home, other ways to minimize the fall risks include showing/reviewing how to get up from a seated position and how to sit down safely. Sounds simple but for many it is no longer a simple activity. Poor balance, weakness, fatigue and medication side effects all need to be addressed. You don’t need to be a falls prevention expert to promote safety at home. Grab bars, shower stool, hand held shower head, transfer seat and supervision during bathing are all ways to further prevent a fall.
More information is available at www.fallspreventionmonth.ca
Lesson learned: Falls prevention can make the difference between remaining safely at home or losing one’s mobility and loss of independence.
PS Most falls occur in the bathroom….