Falls Prevention Awareness Day - September 23
September 16, 2013
Myrtle Beach, SC – In observation of National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, September 23, The Trauma Association of South Carolina (TASC) and Grand Strand Regional Medical Center’s American College of Surgeons Level II trauma center are joining together to take proactive steps to prevent falls among seniors.
Two out of every ten trauma admissions among people 60 and older are due to fall-related injuries. Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries among older adults. The chances of falling and of being seriously injured in a fall increase with age.
“We need to raise awareness of the many preventive measures that can be taken to keep our seniors safe,” said Diane Howell, MSN, RN, CCRN, president of TASC. “In 2011, there were 4,139 fall-related trauma admissions in South Carolina. More than half were falls among adults age 60 and older, and 110 of these patients died due to their injuries. The total inpatient and emergency department charges were over $7 million for that year alone.”
“Falls among older adults is a public health issue that must be addressed collectively throughout the state. The Trauma Association of South Carolina (TASC) created an Injury Prevention Subcommittee to reduce the prevalence and burden of older adult falls through education, awareness and prevention,” said Jennifer Zajac, RN, Grand Strand Regional Medical Center trauma educator/injury prevention specialist.
Throughout the state, trauma centers will celebrate Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 23, by providing information on how to prevent older adult falls.
“There are several things older adults can do to reduce their chances of falling such as exercising, knowing medication side effects, having their vision checked and wearing proper shoes,” says Zajac. “Ensuring that hospital visitors and employees are aware of these safety measures could potentially reduce older adults’ chances of falling.”
Studies show that a combination of interventions can significantly reduce falls among older adults. TASC Recommends:
- Installing grab bars and handrails throughout your home as needed.
- Using a medical alert monitoring system that offers a fall detector.
- Turning on lights, even if it wakes others. Many falls occur in the evenings when no lights are on.
- Slowing down. Many falls could be avoided by taking your time.
- Mixing alcohol and some medication can be dangerous. Medication side effects, such as drowsiness, may be increased with alcohol.
- Carrying a cordless phone or cell phone with you at all times, in case of an emergency.
- Getting rid of throw rugs and low-lying furniture because peripheral vision decreases with age.
- Using a walking assist device, if needed.