Preventing falls in and around the home

Preventing falls in and around the home

Jo Fallowfield is a New Zealand Registered Occupational Therapist (OT) who owns and operates Mobility Solutions BOP with her husband Joseph in Mount Maunganui. Jo will be contributing to The Weekend Sun monthly. This month she is discussing falls prevention.

Falls put you at serious risk of injury and can be fatal. It is a major cause of injury in older adults, and with an ever increasing life expectancy it brings challenges around lifestyle and health management.

Jo consults with people of all ages who have fallen recently or are afraid of falling.

“I always recommend that individuals speak to their GP to identify certain added risks of falling, as some medications and other medical disorders can increase a persons risk of falling” explains Jo. “Anyone afraid of falling, or who has had a fall can self-refer or be referred to an OT. The OT can assess the persons daily activites, as well as assess their home environment and make recommendations for any home modifications that may benefit the individual” Funding is available through the DHB and self funded through private OT’s.

The Falls Prevention Centre of Excellence advises “adapting or converting the physical environment such as removing any hazards, adding any assistive devices and changing how/where activities occur to minimise risk” as important aspects to preventing unnecessary falls.

Once the GP has discounted any other possible medical causes considering the use of daily living aids such as grab rails, wheeled kitchen trolleys, toilet aids, bathing equipment, or a bed lever to assist getting out of bed can really decrease an individuals' risk of falling.