Why You Should Take Fall Risks Seriously and Instructions for Getting Up Safely
A fall causes an individuals full weight to land on only a few points of impact, causing soft tissue damage that will worsen the longer the person cannot get up. On average, every 22 seconds, a person over the age of 65 will fall.
What problems can arise from being down too long?
- Pressure ulcers – commonly known as “pressure” or “bed sores,” unrelieved pressure will cause soft tissue to break down due to lack of oxygen and vital nutrients. If left, damage will extend to deeper tissue.
- Rhabdomyolysis – the release of proteins into the bloodstream where they do not belong. This results when muscle tissue is damaged and can clog the kidneys. In severe cases, causing acute kidney failure and the need for dialysis.
- Hypothermia – after lying in one position in a cold room or on a cold floor, the body’s ability to regulate its internal temperature becomes compromised.
- Dehydration – if an individual cannot sit up to drink water, dehydration will occur. This can lead to low blood pressure, shock, confusion, and damage to the brain, kidneys, and other vital organs.
How to safely get up from a fall
- Prepare – If you are hurt, call for help using a telephone or medical alert system, or by making yourself heard by any means possible. Look for a sturdy piece of furniture or the bottom of a staircase. DO NOT try and stand up on your own. Turning your head in the direction you are trying to roll, roll over onto your side. Then, move your shoulders, arms, hips, and your legs over.
- Rise – Lift your head and push your upper body up. Pause for a minute to regain your balance. Slowly get up on your hands and knees and crawl to a sturdy chair. Position your hands on the seat of a chair and slide your foot forward so it is flat on the floor.
- Sit – Keep the other leg bent with the knee firmly on the floor. Slowly rise and turn your body to sit on the chair. Remain seated for a few minutes before trying to do anything.
If you have fallen, then you have a high risk of falling again. Talk with your loved ones or care provider about having a fall-risk evaluation.