To follow is NOT a sexy topic, but very important– how to prevent falls for yourself (…or your parent.)
Why is this important? Every 20 minutes an older adult dies from a fall. Each fall-related hospitalization costs an average of $30,000. Medicare spends $31 billion on falls annually. If you fall and break a hip, the chance you will EVER return home is slim.
There’s good news! There are evidence-based (meaning they’ve been researched and they WORK!) interventions that can prevent falls.
The CDC started the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) initiative. This has three core elements: screen patients to identify their fall risk, assess their modifiable fall risk factors, and intervene.
This includes stopping medications which can make the patient drowsy or unsteady (like sleeping aides and narcotic pain medicine). Decreasing other medications if they cannot be stopped entirely. Pick up throw rugs in the moving. Move electrical cords to avoid a tripping-hazard. Add secure grab bars to bathrooms and showers. Add secure grab bars near stairs. Using a bedside commode during the night.
If you’d like to learn more, refer to http://www.cdc.gov/steadi