Training in Falls Awareness is important in a number of lines of work and is one of the courses we offer here at ACI.
Reducing the prevalence of falls and fractures is important for maintaining the health, wellbeing, and independence of older people. As people get older, their likelihood of suffering a fall becomes more likely. Falls can recur and result in complications such as head injuries and hip fractures. However, falls and the resulting fractures in older people can often be prevented.
There are many reasons why someone might have a fall, and quite often a fall can result from a combination of these factors.
Some factors may be poor balance, weak muscle, poor eyesight, usage of some medicines that can cause side effects increasing likelihood of a fall, hazards in the home or other environment (for example, unsafe stairs or other furnishings within a dwelling or other building) or certain medical conditions.
How likely a fall might be, and how severe it might be if it happens, are related to a number of possible factors such as bone health, frailty and low body weight. Strong bones are important for patients’ health, and people who have low bone mineral density are more likely to experience a fracture following a fall.
Osteoporosis is a leading cause of low bone mineral density. It’s a sobering fact that three million people in the UK suffer from osteoporosis and these people are at much higher risk of fractures, especially those known as “fragility fractures”. These are fractures caused by low level forces that, in a person not suffering from osteoporosis, would be unlikely to cause a fracture. Almost two million bed days in hospital are accounted for each year by hip fractures of this kind, at huge cost- and this does not even take into account the additional social care costs resulting from such events.
The hips, spine and wrists are the areas where fragility fractures are most prevalent. People may also be at increased risk of osteoporosis because of genetics / family history of the same problems, or because of side effects of some medications. Low body weight can be a contributory cause, as can a diet which is low in calcium and vitamin D, as well as smoking, alcohol, diabetes and a number of long-term medications.
Importantly, healthcare professionals are able to mitigate some of the prevalence of falls and resulting fractures. For example, they can ask older people about falls on a routine basis, looking for issues with balance or the way their patients walk, and assessing potential risks, including medical conditions which might make a person more likely to fall. They can, through appropriate training, understand the referral pathway to local services, which itself reduces fall risks. They can inform and reassure individuals and their carers or families that help is there to reduce the risk of falls. Other preventative action that can be taken by healthcare professionals includes support of healthy ageing, such as reducing risk factors such as physical inactivity and visual impairment and encouraging patients to engage with NHS health checks.
Meanwhile, community health and care professionals, and providers of specialist services can also have a positive impact. Many of the ways in which they can help are quite straightforward, for example encouraging people to become more active (where possible) and eat a balanced and healthy diet, as well as stay hydrated and engage in strength and balance exercises (again, where possible). They can ensure that they issue clear messages and information about the types of health behaviours that can increase risk of falls, as well as those that can help prevent them.
So, you can see that helping to prevent the incidence of falls and consequent fractures and other injuries is of real importance in the wider community. It has a real and lasting beneficial effect.
ACI have a Falls Awareness course which is ideal for those seeking to gain knowledge in this area. As ever, do note that some employers/agencies require this as mandatory – so please check with your employer/agency if you are required to do this course before making a purchase.
The aim of our Falls Awareness course is to examine the issues that surround falls including the prevalence of falls and being able to identify those people most at risk of falling. We look at why and when falls occur and multifactorial falls risk assessment and interventions. It helps us to understand how to help to prevent falls and to ensure that we follow post-fall protocol. This course is suitable for all grades of health and social care staff. For some NHS Trusts this course is a mandatory subject.
For a full list of courses available at our Academy, you can visit https://learn.aci.training
Get in touch with us regarding any courses of interest and relevance to your work. We’d love to hear from you!
Call 01291 624 451 or email firstname.lastname@example.org