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Ambulance service issues advice to avoid falls this winter

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Published by Josh Kerr at 4:45pm 7th December 2018. (Updated at 4:47pm 7th December 2018)

South East Coast Ambulance Service is urging people to take precautions to guard against suffering a trip or a fall this winter.

Ambulance crews attend thousands of calls to low-level falls each year with the category making up in the region of 20 per cent of all calls attended.

Older people are particularly vulnerable with around 80 per cent of falls patients over the age of 65.

By undertaking some simple checks and alterations, people can lower the chance of someone suffering a fall and requiring the help of the ambulance service.

Age UK has produced the following check list to keep falls to minimum:

  • Do you have good lighting, especially on the stairs?
  • Are stairs and steps clutter free?
  • Do you have handrails on both sides of the stairs?
  • Do you have a nightlight in the bedroom or a torch by the bed in case you need to get up in the night?
  • Are your floors clear of trailing wires, wrinkled or fraying carpets or anything else that you might trip or slip on?
  • Do you have a handrail in the bath and a non-slip bath mat?
  • Do you always use a step ladder to reach high places? Always ask someone to help you if you’re using a ladder, never stand on a chair.
  • Do you keep your garden paths clear and free from moss?
  • Does your pet wear a collar with a bell? It’s important to be aware of where they are when you’re moving about.

The ambulance service typically sees an increase in slips and trips during colder spells and people should always wear appropriate shoes.

SECAmb falls lead and specialist paramedic Vicky Kypta said:

“Falls significantly impact on people’s quality of life. This goes beyond the fact that we attend and they may need further treatment in hospital.

"Falls can damage people’s confidence, increase isolation and reduce independence. When an older person suffers a fall there can be devastating effects to long and short-term health.

“Our crews will always look to ensure patients receive additional help and where necessary refer them to specialist services but we want to help people lower their chances of having to call 999 in the first instance.

“By checking their homes for slip and trip hazards, perhaps with the help of family or friends, people can significantly reduce their chance of suffering a fall.”

 

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