Older Queenslanders urged to get active to avoid falls
On average, Queensland Health admits 150 people over the age of 60 to hospital each day due to a fall.
Dr Elizabeth Whiting, Geriatrician and Chair of the Frail Older Person’s Collaborative, said falls can significantly impact a person’s confidence and quality of life.
“More than 87,000 people were treated in Queensland hospitals last financial year for injuries sustained from a fall,” Dr Whiting said.
“Almost 60,000 of those, or 67 per cent, were people over the age of 60, with 80-year-olds falling the most.
“This affects not just the person, but their family and friends.
“Fractures to the hip, head, lower back, shoulder and forearm are the most common injuries treated because of a fall and can result in a long stay in hospital.
“This month is ‘April No Falls’ to raise awareness about what seniors and their carers can do to reduce the risk of falls.”
Dr Whiting says falls should not be an inevitable part of ageing and can be prevented.
“We need to encourage people to stay active and to reduce potential hazards around the home,” Dr Whiting said.
“The most effective way to prevent falls is to improve strength and balance through
activities and exercises or classes like Tai Chi.
“I encourage all families to have a conversation with their older family members about how they can prevent falls.”
Handy hints include:
- Keep paths free of moss and leaves, remove obstacles such as gardening tools, hoses and pots.
- Move frequently used items to within easy reach to reduce the need for ladders.
- Keep a sturdy, broad-based stepladder with handrails handy.
- Keep outdoor areas well-lit and properly maintained – especially tiles and paths
- If you have a damaged public footpath near your home, take a photo and send it with a letter or email describing the location and type of hazard to your local council.
- Talk to your health professional for further information.
Queensland Health has a number of online resources for seniors and their family members or carers, with tips to avoid falls. For more information, visit http://www.health.qld.gov.au/stayonyourfeet/
Media contact: 3708 5376
Episodes of admitted patient care for patients with an external cause of fall
1. Excludes episodes for newborns without qualified days, posthumous organ procurements and boarders
2. Falls defined by external cause of ICD10CM W00-W19
3. ICD-10-AM 9th Edition (2015/2016 & 2016/2017); ICD-10-AM 10th Edition (2017/2018)
Source: Queensland Hospital Admitted Patient Data Collection, Statistical Services Branch, Department of Health, Queensland
Prepared by: Statistical Reporting & Coordination Unit, Statistical Services Branch, Department of Health
Date: April 12, 2019
DB No: 31,398