With consequences of falls, physical harm or abuse including increased anxiety and fear of falling or being attacked again, increased functional decline, decreased independence, fractures, distress and even death, preventive steps are essential for older and infirm Australians.
One Curtin University study – reported on the Australian Ageing Agenda website – has shown that trained community workers can safely incorporate an 8-week falls-prevention exercise program into their existing services for those older and infirm clients who are at low or medium risk of falling over.
With just four hours of training, community care workers were able to deliver the falls-prevention program, leading to positive outcomes.
What experience have you or a loved one who is still living at home had with falls, physical harm or abuse? How did that experience come to light? Who was able to assist and was a solution found?
A National Ageing Research Institute senior researcher says there is not enough research done in residential aged care to truly understand falls, their causes and to evaluate a range of interventions.
While work progresses on reducing the rate of falls in older people living in the community – from one in three people aged 65 years and over – up to three times as many residents, about half of all in aged care settings, experience falls every year.
Given aged care residents are older, more likely to have cognitive impairment and are frailer than those living in the community, a higher number of falls might be expected.
The extent of injury with falls in aged care is higher and the greatest concern is for those who fall frequently.
With consequences of falls including increased anxiety and fear of falling again, increased functional decline, decreased independence, fractures and death, well-funded, targeted research is needed to develop education programs for staff and residents.
Have you or a loved one experienced – or have you witnessed – a fall or other harm or abuse in an aged care facility? What was the consequence of this? What had been done to prevent that happening beforehand? What was done afterward to prevent it happening again?