We all think that accidents will never happen to us.
But sometimes we need to take precautions to ensure we can stay healthy and independent in our own homes.
Every day, 133 older Queenslanders have a fall requiring medical attention, even though falls are mostly preventable. Falls have a big impact on mobility and independence, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce the risk.
Fast facts: Falls for Queenslanders aged 65 years and over
Most falls occurred at home during the cooler months (May to July).
Most falls were caused by slips and trips on a level surface.
Falls injuries were mainly to the head, hip and forearm.
The most common falls injury was fractures, mainly to the hip.
Each day, 62 older people fell and required an ambulance, with most being over 85 years.
Each day, 13 older people required emergency department services due to a fall.
Each day, 35 people were admitted to hospital due to fall-related injuries (with 10 of these being admitted due to hip fractures).
The average cost of a hip fracture to Queensland’s health system is $15,046.
Hospital staff reported 32 falls each day within hospital facilities (mostly unwitnessed, occurring in the morning between 9am and 12 noon, and in the afternoon/evening between 3pm and 7pm).
Length of stay in hospital after a fall is often longer due to the nature of the injury and deconditioning that can occur as a result of the fall.
Falls are often associated with a decline in function and quality of life, reduced independence and a loss of confidence.
Studies show that individuals who are empowered and educated regarding falls risks and how to manage these, tend to reduce their risk of falling significantly.
Most falls are preventable and predictable
Falls are caused by many factors including:
reduced muscle strength,
slowed reaction time,
poor vision and the use of multiple medications,
a fear about falling,
environmental hazards within and outside the home.
Falls can be prevented by staying healthy and active, maintaining strength and balance, identifying falls risk factors and addressing them, and improving home safety to avoid hazards.