It can be difficult not to panic when an older adult falls. Many fall-related injuries can have serious consequences for the person in question, from potential fractures to concussions.
However, keeping a calm perspective in such a situation and making sure all bases are covered can help to prevent long-term issues that can often stem from a severe fall.
In this article, we explore some essential checks to carry out after an older relative or friend has experienced a fall, which can help to minimise any injury or trauma they may have experienced.
1. Don’t move them right away
When you are assisting a loved one who has fallen, you mustn’t move them until all other checks have been carried out. While it is human nature to rush to someone after a fall and help them to their feet, this could do a lot of damage, particularly in the case of an older individual.
2. Check for signs of shock or injury
After a frightening fall, it is normal for an older adult to experience shock.
With that, the next course of action you should take is to check for physical signs of shock, while also talking to the fall victim to ensure they are lucid and able to respond with clarity. Encourage them to take deep breaths to stay calm.
You will also need to check for any obvious signs of injury, such as swelling, bleeding, a potential broken bone or dislocation, and more.
3. Assess the need for an ambulance
If you have spotted an injury, you will need to call an ambulance immediately and ensure the fall victim stays in the same position until the paramedics arrive.
Similarly, suppose there are no apparent signs of trauma to the body. In that case, you may still feel the need to call on the support of trained professionals if you are unsure of your loved one’s mental state after a fall, or if you are physically unable to help them to their feet.
4. Can they move off the floor with limited assistance?
If there are no apparent injuries and the person feels they have the strength and ability to get up off the floor, proceed with caution. The key thing to remember is that they need to be the ones doing most of the work; you are simply there as a supportive guide.
This is important for two reasons. Firstly, it will help to establish whether or not there is an injury present that they may not have been aware of.
Secondly, it will minimise the possibility of you straining and injuring yourself, which is particularly vital if you are their main caregiver.
5. Put necessary supports in place before they attempt to move
Take it slowly, advising the individual to roll onto their side before gently raising themselves on all fours. Ideally, you should move a sturdy piece of furniture, such as a chair or low table, in front of them so they can use it to cautiously push themselves up into a standing position.
There should also be a chair close by that they can comfortably sit in to gather themselves and regain a sense of calm. Our Raizer 2, a state-of-the-art lifting chair that safely helps a fallen person up with dignity, is the ideal solution for such a situation.
6. Call their GP and monitor them closely for at least 48 hours
Even if an older person shows little to no signs of injury following a fall, it is imperative to notify their doctor about what occurred so they can keep a close watch on any emerging symptoms or check for any potential underlying conditions that may have caused the fall in the first place.
It is also crucial for you to keep a close eye on the individual for at least 48 hours after the fall, to ensure there are no delayed physical or behavioural red flags.
7. Minimise the severity of any future falls
To avoid a panic-stricken trip to the emergency room, it is recommended to put measures in place to lessen the impact of a fall on your older loved ones. We discussed this in our other March article, and at O Neill Healthcare, our range of fall management products such as bed bumpers, handrails, grab bars and fall mats can help you do exactly this.
Minimise injuries after an older adult falls with our Fall Management range of products
Falls can be a serious risk for older adults, but there are steps that you can take to reduce the risk of falls and respond appropriately in the event of a fall. By following the prevention tips outlined above, assessing for injuries, and taking the necessary steps to ensure the individual’s safety and well-being, you can help prevent falls from having a significant impact.
At O Neill Healthcare, our main objective is to enhance the quality of life of our clients, and providing them with the most high-quality products enables us to realise our goal. Despite being one of the most reputable in the business, it is our approach and genuine interest in those we cater for that truly define us.
With O Neill Healthcare, you know you’re in safe hands, so get in touch today and find out more about our products can protect your most cherished family.