What We Do
Falls prevention remains a key focus for the Canterbury health system as a major cause of avoidable harm. The most serious injuries from a fall are head injuries and hip fractures, and falls can kill.
Not only is the harm from falls devastating for the person who has fallen, and distressing for their families/whānau or caregivers, but it often means the person may need to stay longer in hospital, become more dependent on others, or have a reduced quality of life.
Older people have a higher risk of falling than others, and because they may also be frail, the consequences are often greater too. You may not consider yourself at risk, but there will be someone close to you who is - and you can help.
The risk of harm from a fall can be reduced, either by a person taking action themselves, or through others encouraging them to do the things that will help them stay safe.
If you are at risk, or have an elderly neighbour, family member or friend who might benefit from your support, read on:
Three simple things people at risk can do to prevent falls at home:
Start a recommended exercise programme to maintain strength and improve balance.
Make your home safe – keep floors clutter-free, fix down carpets, tidy power cords.
Push with your legs and steady with your hands when getting up from a chair.
How community health professionals can help prevent falls at home:
A General Practice team or pharmacist can review an at risk person's medications.
A physiotherapist can recommend an exercise programme to improve strength and balance.
Blurred vision makes falling more likely. People at risk should get their eyes checked by an optometrist.
For more information about reducing the risk of falling at home, a local Falls Champion can be contacted through General Practice teams, community nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists or other health professionals.
April is always Falls Awareness month. There are a number of activities planned to raise awareness and promote falls prevention in DHBs across the country.
There will posters and displays in many Canterbury DHB Hospitals to promote the importance of falls prevention to staff, patients and visitors.
We have created a new graphics theme this year, which feature autumn leaves:
Our staff have been asked to come up with their own creative ways of raising awarenes of the importance of preventing falls.
For more information on falls prevention, check out:
HealthInfo: http://healthinfo.org.nz and search for 'falls prevention'
HQSC Patient Information on Falls Prevention:
Preventing injuries at homehttp://www.acc.co.nz/preventing-injuries/at-home/older-people/information-for-older-people/index.htm
A home hazard checklisthttp://www.acc.co.nz/PRD_EXT_CSMP/groups/external_ip/documents/checklist/prd_ctrb122330.pdf