We often worry about the residents we care for falling but falls don't "just happen," and people don't fall because they get older. Often, more than one underlying cause or risk factor is involved in a fall and these are often part of just moving about and there are everyday things that we need to think about when our residents are moving about.

Eyes, ears and feet

Before a resident gets up to move think about:-

Older eyes:-

  • Can take longer to adjust to changing light.

  • May have restrictions in visual field – objects/hazards may not be seen.

  • May have problems with judging distances.

  • Can have problems with balance

Are the persons glasses:

Clean?

Current?

Correct?

Make sure there is a good level of lighting available.

Older ears:-

  • May have a build up a wax

  • Can affect balance

Does the person have a hearing aid?

Are there working batteries?

Are all the components present?

Is it clean?

Use visual cues and gestures to aid communication.  Speak to the person better sides, at their level and facing them.

Older Feet:-

  • Are more prone to corns, bunions, blisters and infections

  • The skin is thinner and less elastic and circulation reduced

  • With reduced balance and mobility it can be harder to reach down to the feet

Check toenails are not too long and feet have no signs of infection.

Feet are cleaned, dried and moisturised.

Residents  are wearing suitable socks and footwear.

Regular review by podiatry and refer to GP/DN if concerned.

Additional care is needed if resident is diabetic, has rheumatoid arthritis or on warfarin.

Exercise to improve circulation.

Don’t sit cross legged and don’t walk barefoot.

Mobility

Ensure walking aids are checked regularly for safety (monthly basis)

  • Is it the right height?

  • Is the resident within the safe weight limit for the walking aid they are using?  

  • Do they look safe with it?

Is the walking aid appropriate?

  • Is the resident used to walking with it?

  • Have they been assessed?

  • Is it being used correctly?

Residents should NOT share walking aids because:-

  • There is a risk of passing on infections

  • It’s set to the individual’s needs.
Enviroment

Think about the:

  • Different rooms

  • Communal areas

  • Stairs

  • Entries and exits

  • Outside spaces

  • Lighting

  • Equipment

What about:

  • Clutter

  • Position of furniture

  • Heights of furniture

  • Floor surfaces

  • Walking aids

  • Visitors

Key questions:

  • What can’t be changed?

  • What can be changed?

  • What can be modified?

  • Would signage help?

Report all hazards that need repairing; minimise the risks; promote independence.

Resources

Ensure risks assessments are completed/updated if a person:

Is at risk of fall

At the first fall

After each fall

Is diagnosed with a new medical condition e.g. Parkinson’s Disease, Dementia

Community Falls Risk Assessment and Plan

For support with falls prevention exercise, physical activity and reducing sedentary behaviour contact

'STRICTLY NO FALLING'

Southern Derbyshire (excluding Derby City)

Emma Yates

M: 07851 731772

E: emma.yates@ageukdd.org.uk

Northern Derbyshire

Sue Hannan

M: 07745 273333

E: sue.hannan@ageukdd.org.uk  

For more information see our pages on the Age UK Derby & Derbyshire Website click here


Falls Assistant - a website from NHS Scotland with lots of useful information (note content may need to be adapted for your area)

Vision Recommendations:

Regular eye tests – ideally once a year.

Speak to Derbyshire Sight Support.

01332 292262

Hearing should be checked annually – seek referral to audiology.

Guide to checks on 3 and 4 wheeled walkers

Guide to checks on zimmer frames

Safety Cross

If concerned, please refer to local community physiotherapist for a walking aid assessment

Swadlincote SPA                             01283 818080

Derby City SPA                                01332 888100

Erewash SPA                                   0115 8554160

Amber Valley/South Dales SPA       01773 525090

Hertfordshire Care Providers Association (HCPA) has launched the StopFalls Campaign, supported by Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), with the aim of reducing falls across the county (note content may need to be adapted for your area)