Falls in Elderly: Managing Falls and Fall-Related Injuries
Falls are a common problem among the elderly population and can lead to serious consequences, such as fractures, hospitalisation, and loss of independence. Despite being a challenging situation, falls can be prevented and managed with the right strategies and interventions.
Early Detection is Critical
Time is crucial in responding to falls in elderly. As falls can lead to serious injuries that can have a big impact on an elderly’s life, checks and systems should be in place to detect a fall and immediately alert the relevant emergencies and other care providers. There are fall detector sensors available that can accurately detect a fall and notify someone responsible. These can be installed easily in homes or care homes for elderly and can be life saving. Some smartwatches and smart pendants also have fall detection sensors that work similarly.
For elderly who live alone, it's also important to have a functioning phone available handy with emergency contacts on speed dial so that they can inform their care providers or call emergency services quickly if they are in a position to do so.
Read also, Understanding the Causes of falls in Elderly to ensure early detection of falls.
Emergency Medical Care
When a fall occurs, immediate action is necessary to prevent further injury and complications. If the individual is conscious and able to move, they should be encouraged to stay still and avoid putting weight on the injured limb or portion of the body. If there are any obvious signs of injury, such as bleeding, deformity, or severe pain, medical attention should be sought immediately. In cases where the individual is unable to move or experiences loss of consciousness, emergency medical services should be contacted without delay.
Rehabilitation and recovery
After a fall, rehabilitation and recovery are essential to help the individual regain their mobility and independence. The rehabilitation program includes physical therapy, occupational therapy, and other interventions to improve strength, balance, and flexibility. The rehabilitation process may take time and requires a team of health and care professionals to help the individual achieve the recovery goals.
Managing chronic pain
Chronic pain and disabilities can occur after a fall, especially if the individual sustained a fracture or other serious injury. The management of chronic pain and disabilities may involve pain medication, physical therapy, assistive devices, and other interventions to improve the individual's quality of life. It is important to work with healthcare professionals to develop a comprehensive plan for managing chronic pain and disabilities after a fall.
Supporting Elderly People After a Fall
Post-fall assessment and support
After a fall, post-fall assessment is conducted to identify any injuries and potential causes of the fall. This assessment can include a physical exam, neurological evaluation, and imaging tests, such as X-rays or CT scans to determine the medical causes of injury and chart out a treatment plan.
Psychological support and counselling
A fall can be a traumatic event for an elderly person, and it can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and fear of falling again. Support and counselling can help alleviate these feelings and improve the overall well-being of the person. Counselling can help the elderly person understand the causes of the fall, learn strategies to prevent future falls, and cope with any changes in their physical abilities.
Family and caregiver support
Family and caregivers need to provide physical assistance, help with daily activities, and provide emotional support. Family members can also ensure the home is safe and free of hazards, such as loose rugs or uneven surfaces, to prevent future falls.
Accessible community resources and services
Communities can provide valuable resources and services to support elderly people after a fall. These can include transportation services, home modification programs, and social support groups. Access to these resources can help the elderly person maintain their independence, improve their quality of life, and prevent future falls.
Reducing the Risk and Preventing Falls in Elderly is one of the best ways to support independent living for them.
Falls and fall-related injuries can be managed with the right strategies and interventions. In cases where a fall occurs, immediate action is necessary to prevent further injury and complications. It is also important to address the physical and emotional needs of the person while dealing with a fall related injury, and to take steps to prevent future falls. By working together, the independence and quality of life can be restored elderly people recovering from a fall.