Falls

Introduction

Fall is a major cause of disability and death in the elderly. More than a third of elderly people living in the community fall annually.

Risk factors :

Environmental– loose carpets and rugs, bad/slippery flooring, steep stairs, poor lighting, poor fitting foot wears and clothes, lack of safety equipments e.g. grab rails.

Drugs-disturb mental and physical functions leading to fall.

Medical Conditions – arthritis, osteoporosis, visual impairment, dizziness, dementia, stroke and parkinsonism.

Nutritional Factors – poor diet, especially lacking in calcium and vitamin D.

Lack of exercise

Complications

  • Consequences:
    • Injuries which may result in serious head injuries and fractures.
    • Psychological – fear, loss of confidence, anxiety, depression, social isolation and functional limitation.
    • Disability with subsequent dependency.
    • Immobility may lead to pressure sores, muscle damage and lung infection.

Treatment

  • Diagnosis and treatment of medical problems
  • Physiotherapy and occupational therapy assessment

Prevention

  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Elderly friendly environment – good lighting and pavements
  • Targeting risk factors as above
  • Foot care and appropriate footwear

Rehabilitation

  • Multidisciplinary approach to improve stability during standing, transferring (moving) and walking through.
  • To regain independence and confidence..
  • Modify the home environment and remove hazards.
  • Teach strategies to cope with further falls.

 

Last Review : 26 April 2012 
Writer : Dr. Joseph Ngeh
: Dr. Mohd Daud Che Yusof
: Dr. R. Sukumar a/l Rajaretnam
Reviewed : Dr. Mohd Daud Che Yusof