Now that it is fall, let’s talk about falls. September 22 (or the first official day of fall each year) is national Falls Prevention Awareness Day. This year we have some new resources to learn about and to celebrate.
Every year very unintended falls, those slips that come out of nowhere, lead to deaths, fractures, hospitalizations, and need for assistive devices. In addition, fear of another fall leads to changes in day-to-day activities. One ‘little oops’ can take someone from doing all they want to do to needing assistance and having restrictions. No one wants that.
Falls Risk Factors
Besides snow, ice, and rickety steps there are so many things that can increase your risk for falling. Below are a few.
- Those that make you sleepy
- Those that relax you or change your mood
- Those that make your blood pressure drop too low or too suddenly
- Those that make your blood sugar dip too low
- Many pain medicines
- Any medicine that makes your mouth and eyes really dry
- Most of the over-the-counter sleep aids
- Heart disease
- Anything that makes your legs hurt
- Pain in general
In your home
- Pets that get under your feet
- Vision problems or glasses that don’t fit or aren’t the right prescription
- Hearing problems
- Using a cane, crutches, or walker in the wrong way
Wow, and this is just a partial list!
New Falls Prevention Resources
That is why I am so excited to tell you about some new resources from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). They released last summer the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths & Injuries (STEADI) toolkit. The toolkit can be found here: http://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html. You can find a checklist for your home. This will help you identify and fix any risks you might not have known about. There is a checklist to complete before you go to the doctor. It will help your doctor determine how much fall risk you have. The specific resources in the toolkit I encourage you to pull up are:
- Stay Independent questionnaire
- What Can You do to Prevent Falls brochure
- Check for Safety home assessment guide
The STEADI toolkit has now been joined by a new toolkit that focuses more on the role of medications, medical conditions, and your physical function. This toolkit is the result of a collaboration between the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and the National Council on Aging. This ASCP/NCOA resource was announced on National Falls Prevention Day. It will be first unveiled in a webinar for pharmacists on October 18. You can learn more at the ASCP website.
Also, on the 2016 National Falls Prevention Day, the CDC has released new statistics about the realities of falls in the US. You can learn more here.
Let us provide a comprehensive assessment of your falls risks today! Your preventative steps today can keep you active in the future. You can contact us at www.medsmash.com/contact.
For further application, check out my personal blog.
Image source: National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services