It’s a shocking statistic, but each year over 4,500 people in England and Wales die following a fall. Nearly a third of a million people will also need hospital treatment. It is often older people who suffer from falls and unfortunately many of them may never recover from either the physical or psychological impact of their injuries. Sadly, falls are the most common cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 75 and often additional complications occur because people don’t know how to get up after a fall.
Although the fall itself often doesn’t cause a serious injury, if the casualty is unable to get up following their fall, they are more likely to suffer hypothermia or pressure sores. It is therefore extremely important for elderly people to know how to deal with a fall if they have one. Falls can also lead to broken bones, which may cause the casulaty to lose confidence, as they lose some of their mobility and therefore their independence. Here, we will give you a step by step guide on how to get up after a fall, making the process safer and, hopefully, reducing the after effects of the fall.
If you, or someone you know may be at risk of a fall – please do read this step by step guide. It may make all the difference, should you ever need it.
What to do after a fall:
Lie still for a couple of minutes and check that you are not seriously hurt. Systematically work your way up your body, carefully checking for pain or bleeding and slowly moving your limbs, one at a time.
If you feel able to get yourself up …
If you’re hurt and unable to get up:
Firstly try to get someone’s attention by calling out for help, banging on the wall or floor, or using your aid call button (if you have one). If you are unable to summon help, if possible crawl to a telephone and dial 999 to request an ambulance. Try to ensure that you have a fully charged mobile accessible at all times.
Whilst waiting for help, try to reach for a blanket or dressing gown to keep you warm. Wrap yourself up to insulate yourself from the ground, especially keep your legs and feet warm. Try to stay as calm as possible.
After a fall …
Having a fall could be an indicator of a treatable underlying health problem. It is sensible to make an appointment with the GP for a check-up and possibly ask for a referral to an NHS Falls Clinic where they can further investigate and help instigate measures to prevent further falls. There are specific muscle strengthening exercise classes, physiotherapy and lots of advice and support.
First Aid for Life provides this information for guidance and it is not in any way a substitute for medical advice. First Aid for Life is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made, or actions taken based on this information. It is strongly advised that you attend a first aid course or do one online to understand what to do in a medical emergency.
Introducing a comprehensive guide to accident prevention and treatment in the older generation; Slips, Trips and Fractured Hips by Emma Hammett RGN. This book has been written for people caring for older friends and relatives; children caring for elderly parents, for spouses, for older people wanting to keep themselves that bit safer and for anyone working with or caring for older people. It is designed to help you take measures to prevent life-threatening injuries and help you plan, prepare and avoid mishap, as well as equip you with the necessary skills should an accident occur.