11 Apr 2013 | Reducing Harm from Falls
Nelson Marlborough health advisors say staying physically active is the most important thing to do to prevent falls in the elderly.
Preventing injury from falls is the key focus for Nelson Marlborough health services during April Falls month.
Falls are a big issue for everyone and the number one reason for admission to aged residential care and loss of independence.
It has been estimated that one third of people aged over 65 and half of people over 80 years, suffer at least one fall per year. Falls also represent a significant number of the serious and sentinel adverse events reported by New Zealand hospitals.
To tackle the issue Nelson Marlborough District Health Board (NMHB) has been working with Kim Hauora Wairau (KHW) Marlborough Primary Health Organisation and Nelson Bays Primary Health (NBPH), to provide good quality education around falls prevention and pathways for people to get the help they need.
Nelson Marlborough Alliance Falls Prevention Coordinator, Glenis Bell said, “Multiple factors can play a role in causing falls, however improving your strength and balance will reduce your risk of having a fall.”
Marlborough PHO, Amaroa Katu said, “Staying physically active is the single most important thing you can do to reduce your risk of falling.”
They both endorse the use of regular Vitamin D which has also been proven to prevent falls injuries. This can be prescribed by your GP.
NMDHB Director of Allied Health, Hilary Exton said, “Increased risk of falling is one of the most serious problems associated with ageing.
“Harm from a fall can change a patient’s life, we must do whatever we can to reduce harm from falls.”
“In both the hospital and the community we are aiming to increase falls risk assessments and have a pathway of care to reduce any risks identified. We also are developing specialised resources to support those at high risk of future falls,” said Ms Exton.
Ms Exton said, “Often acutely unwell, older people are at more risk of a fall when in hospital; nursing and multi-disciplinary assessment and planned management is critical to prevent this occurring.”