Why is Falls Prevention is so Important
Falls prevention may not seem like an important or particularly interesting topic, but it is one of the most important issues facing Irish healthcare.
We all know that as you get older, the risk of having a fall gets higher. The factors that affect the risk of falls include bad balance, poor vision, muscle weakness, use of multiple medications, depression, age, gait and mobility. What you may not know is that falls are a leading cause of injury among older adults.
Our ethos at Falls Action is simple, to use the best in class technology and approaches to minimise the risk of falls. Some facts to be aware of:
- 1 in 3 people over 65 will fall this year.
- 1 in 2 people over 80 will fall this year.
- Two-thirds of this group will fall again within six months.
- This all equates to circa 45,000 falls this year in the Dublin region alone.
- 50% of fallers are unable to get up following a fall.
- 20% of those that fall will require medical attention.
- It is estimated that 80% of falls go unreported.
- 48% percent of all people over the age of 65 have a fear of falling which results in 25% of them significantly curtailing their activities and levels of social contact.
- The healthcare cost (not including the social costs) to the Irish economy of falls and fractures in the elderly €500 million pa.
- It is expected that unless falls programmes change this will rise to €1 billion by 2020.
- Falls is the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries.
- Sadly, there was an 81% rise in fatalities as a result of a fall in a period of 2000 to 2011.
- With more than 300,000 Irish people aged 50 years and over having osteoporosis, the possibility of many of these falls resulting in fragility fractures is very high.
- The proportion of Ireland’s population over the age of 65 years of age is growing. rapidly, there will be a 54% increase in the number of adults over 65 years of age for the date period 2011-2025. This will put tremendous pressure on our health services, supply of home care and fiscal pressure on us as a nation.
Step 1 of Falls Action’s programme is to work to stop falls before they even happen. Falls risk can be lowered through screening, assessment and action.
Step 1 - Falls Screening
The first step has to be a reliable and clinical robust Falls Screen service. After evaluation, we have selected Kinesis QTUG™ as the most accurate screen available to help assess the risk of having a fall. Once we have assessed the risk and the cause of the risk, our clinicians in conjunction with your own GP and / or Physio as may be applicable can devise a bespoke plan of action to minimise that risk.
It is important to highlight that a screening and prevention programme are not definite or absolute in preventing a fall from ever happening, but it is a great first step and the statistics tell us, it can lower falls risk by as much as 30% to 40%.
In this blog, we briefly mentioned Screening. We will discuss Falls Action’s next steps in future blogs.