Fall Prevention at Home
Falls happen at home for many reasons. By making simple changes, you can greatly lower your chance of injury. Your health and safety are Tri-County Health Care's main concerns, which is why we can help you identify risks and learn how to make changes while helping you maintain your independence.
Preventing Slips and Falls
Many slips and falls are due to hazards that are easy to overlook but also easy to fix. By making some simple changes, you can lower your chance of injury. To help maintain your independence, it's important to understand the ways in which you can protect yourself from falls.
There are several things known to add to your risk of falling. These include:
- Poor vision or hearing
- History of falls
- Use of aids such as a cane
- Poor nutrition
- Certain medications
- Being older than 65
- Conditions of the home such as slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor, etc.
- Store items used often at waist level
- Select furniture with armrests for support in getting up and down.
- Keep phone within easy reach.
- If dizziness and weakness occur from poor nutrition or medication change, consult your provider or the outpatient dietitian.
- Use a raised toilet seat and safety frame for ease in getting up and down.
- Set water temperature at 120 degrees or less to prevent burns and falls trying to avoid burns.
- Consider a hand-held shower head, shower chair and handrails in the tub.
- Place non-skid adhesive strips in the tub.
- Use liquid soap or soap on a rope to prevent dropping soap.
- Replace dim, burned out or glaring lights with bright, soft white light bulbs.
- Use a night light.
- Make sure lights are easy to turn on and off.
- Keep a flashlight available.
- Remove scatter/throw rugs.
- Place non-skid treads or double-sided tape under area rugs.
- Keep floors free from clutter.
- Wipe up spills immediately.
- Make sure floors are not slippery.
If you fall at home:
- Don't panic. Remain calm and determine if you are hurt.
- Roll over slowly and try to sit up. Moving slowly will help prevent dizziness.
- Look for the nearest sturdy couch, bed or chair, preferably in a carpeted area. Slide, crawl or scoot toward it. Avoid the bathroom where surfaces are hard and can be slippery.
- Kneel if you can, getting up on one knee at a time.
- Then, stand up using your stronger leg, and use the sturdy chair, couch or bed for support.
- Turn carefully, and sit down.
- If you cannot get up, call for help. If you are alone, crawl slowly toward the telephone and call 911 or relatives. It is important to keep at least one phone where it can be reached from the floor.
- If you cannot move to a sitting position, keep warm by wrapping yourself in any nearby furniture covers, pillows, towels, jackets, comforter or other available material. Call for help, if possible.
- Treat all falls as serious! Call your health care provider even if you were not hurt. A fall can be a symptom of serious problems. Your health care provider can offer advice and assistance on preventing future falls.
If a family member falls:
- Check for injury. DO NOT get the person up until you are certain there is no serious injury.
- Are they breathing? (If not, call 911.)
- Are they bleeding? (Put pressure on the site of the bleeding and call for help.)
- Did they lose consciousness? Are they confused?
- Where do they hurt? (If light touch increases the pain, there may be a fracture.)
- DO NOT attempt to lift the person by yourself. If you try to lift the person by yourself, this may injure both of you.
- Reassure the person. They may be confused, frightened or embarrassed. If possible, provide a cover for them. Stay with them until help can arrive.
- Ask for details about the fall from anyone that may have witnessed it.
- Tell your health care team about falls. A fall can be a symptom of a serious problem. Most falls can be prevented. Your doctor, nurse and physical therapist can offer advice and assistance on preventing future falls.
Information provided by the VA.