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Falls Awareness Week 2014 – 16 to 22 June

You’d be forgiven for thinking that falls are a part of ageing – something that ‘just happens’ as you get older, but there are lots of simple things that you can do to help you stay steady on your feet.

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to maintain independence and make sure we stay steady on our feet and reduce balance problems. Anything that challenges our balance and improves muscle strength, particularly in our legs, can help to reduce falls. Walking, gardening, Tai Chi and dancing are great examples, or if you need more assistance, you can ask your GP or local council about strength and balance classes in your area.

Having your eyes checked regularly

This will help to identify any difficulties you may be having with your glasses prescription or other vision problems that may be affecting your balance and co-ordination.

Looking after your feet

It sounds simple but wearing well fitted shoes and slippers can help to reduce your risk of falls by making sure you are able to feel contact with the floor. Report any problems with your feet to your GP or practice nurse.

Managing your medicines

Certain medicines can make you feel faint or affect your balance. Let your GP know if you ever feel like this after taking medicine or if you are taking several medicines, in case you no longer need them or the dose needs to be changed.

Dr John Taylor, NHS Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “NHS Calderdale CCG have developed a new model of care, working alongside service providers, to increase the level of support in care homes which includes looking at ways to prevent falls.

As part of this project, which is being piloted across 25 care homes in Calderdale, care homes are able to order fall detectors which high risk residents wear to alert care home staff when they have fallen. Homes can also order bed occupancy sensors, and door detectors to alert care home staff if a person has left their bedroom or got out of their bed in the night, so that staff can assist them back to their room.”

A dedicated multi-disciplinary team (MDT) has been introduced across the homes. This is an integrated professional and clinical approach to supporting anticipatory care planning (proactive care), and involves using Telemonitoring to support the prevention of falls, and avoidable admissions to hospital.  Telemonitoring is the combination of technology and services to test the vital signs of patients.

For more information on preventing falls and improving your strength and balance, download the Staying Steady guide or its summary handout: ‘Top tips for staying steady’:

http://www.ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/keeping-fit/preventing-falls/falls-awareness-week/

Ends 

Notes to Editors

  1. For further information about the use of Telehealth in the “Quest for Quality in Care Homes” initiative, visit: www.calderdaleccg.nhs.uk/news/calderdale-ccg-launches-care-homes-initiative/
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