Falls are not an inevitable result of old age. Falls and fractures in older people are a costly and often preventable health issue. People aged 65 and older have the highest risk of falling, with 30 per cent of people older than 65 and 50 per cent of people older than 80 falling at least once a year (NICE 2016).
Falls result in significant costs. The human cost of falling includes distress, pain, injury, loss of confidence, loss of independence and mortality. Falling also affects the family members and carers of people who fall. The cost to the NHS of falls is estimated to be more than £2.3 billion per year (NICE 2016).
Over the last 5 years Wakefield has seen a rising trend in the number of falls. Admissions from injuries due to falls in those 65 and older has been increasing. The burden is not equally spread across Wakefield; deprived areas have higher rates of individuals who fall.
Am I at risk of a fall?
Clearly we cannot change our biological age, but by understanding what puts us at risk we can take preventive action.
The causes of falls are a result of the presence of risk factors, these include:
- Having a history of falls
- Muscle weakness
- Poor balance
- Visual impairment (which may not be obvious to you, so regular eye checks are recommended)
- Multiple medications and the use of certain medicines
- Environmental hazards and a number of specific conditions
The following video provides some useful information to help you to keep yourself safe:
Fall Proof video (Leeds Council)
The following leaflets provide information as to why falls risk increases with age – and the many positive and easy steps that can be taken to cut the risk and protect independence:
The Staying Steady leaflet used by MY Therapy and Mid Yorkshire Hospital Trust staff provides more in-depth information for those individuals who are identified at high risk of a fall. The leaflet includes information on how to look after yourself after a fall and extra information on bone health and supplements.
Advice for health professionals and other staff
Health professionals and other staff can have an impact by:
- Routinely asking older people about falls
- Knowing how to recognize the signs and assess the risk
- Understanding the referral pathway to local services that reduce falls risk
- Help individuals to improve their health, making every contact count and signposting individuals to local support available
- Providing up to date patient information about falls prevention
- Ensuring individuals are having regular eye checks , and know to contact an Optician if they are concerned about their eyes in any way
Falls Prevention Awareness Training
To develop staff understanding around Falls and Falls Prevention within the context of the Adult Health and Social Care setting.
By the end of the session, learners will be able to:-
Identify falls in context
Recognise the risk factors and causes of falls
Discuss falls assessments and prevention
Recognise managing falls
For more information please contact the Adult Workforce Team:
Adult Workforce Team
Tel: 01977 723527
JSNA (Joint Strategic Needs Assessment) falls webpage
The Live Well Wakefield service provides information on a wide range of community services and support to help adults live healthy lives in the Wakefield District.
Whether you want to lose weight or be active, the Aspire Health Referral Programme can help you in becoming healthier and will support you to make changes that will lead to improvements in your overall health.
WDH's Care Link service provides a range of support services to over 15,000 people living in Wakefield. The service offers a responder service alongside pendent alarms to support individuals who have fallen.
Links and useful information