Creating a Safer Environment to Reduce Your Fall Risks

As you have learned,  one of Harmony’s 5-Point Assessment Fall Prevention Program steps is the Environmental Assessment.   Falls often occur because of environmental risk factors and Harmony is dedicated to working with you to identify and reduce your fall risk factors, to create a safer environment.  Why is this important, because our living environments do contain hazards and problem areas that increase your risk for falling.  Also, the evidence confirms that most fall related injuries – 55% – occur due to falls inside the home.   An additional 23% of injuries due to falls occur outside or near the home.1

The common risk factors are slippery surfaces;  inadequate lighting;  loose deep pile or warn carpet;  staircases without rails; supported or badly arranged furniture; poorly designed tubs, toilets, and fixtures in bathrooms; clutter; and yes, pets underfoot. 1

The risk of you falling because of these risk factors vary depending on your safe mobility – your balance, gait and need for mobility aids;   presence of sensory changes or loss in your feet;  also medications that can affect our balance or blood pressure.   These examples are shared with you because falls occur because on an interaction between your own individual fall risk factors as well as those in your home.

Harmony is committed to working with you to identify, modify and reduce your fall risk factors, so that ultimately your falls are reduced.  When your falls are reduced, so are your injuries.

Your Harmony Team will work with you to complete an assessment of fall risks in your home, such as in your bedroom (height of bed too low,  mobility rail needed,  eyeglasses not within reach; no night light;  limited accessibility to bathroom / bedside commode) or  general areas (blocked flow to navigate between rooms and key spaces; loose scatter rugs;  uneven flooring; trip hazards  such as electric/blind cords). 2   Next,  once these risks are identified, your team will work with you to reduce these risks.  

Sometimes making changes to your home environment are difficult decisions,  but necessary to increase your safety.   I hope that you will take a few minutes and respond to this message,  and share changes that you have made to your home environment with your Harmony Team to reduce your risks of falls.

When you share,  everyone learns together. 

Thank you for reading this message and in advance for sharing with others.

Happy and Healthy Holidays and New Year,

Pat Quigley

References:

1 Pynoos,  J., Steinman, B.,  & Nguyen, A. (2010).  Assessment and modification as fall-prevention strategies for older adults.   Clinics in Geriatric Medicine,  26:  633-644.

2 Fritsch, M. A., Shelton, P. S. (2019).  Geriatric Polypharmacy: Pharmacist as Key Facilitator in Assessment for Fall Risk:  2019 Update.   Clinics in Geriatric Medicine, 35: 185-204;  Phelan, E.A., & Ritchey, K. (2018).   Fall prevention in community-dwelling older adults.  Annual of Internal Medicine.  169: ITC [In the Clinic]81-ITC96.

4 Comments

  1. Robert K

    very informative post, Dr. Pat

    • Patricia A Quigley

      Thank you Robert for letting me know. I appreciate your feedback. I hope you are staying well and strong during these transforming times, Best regards, Pat

  2. Kathy C

    Dr. Pat

    I love my rugs and it was a hard decision for me to get rid of them, but I kept tripping over them. Good thing I got rid of them before I actually fell and harmed myself.

    • Patricia A Quigley

      Hi Kathy, thank you for your comment and yes, it is a GOOD THING that you were able to eliminate a fall risk in your environment by removing your rugs. I have slipped on small rugs before, so I made the same hard decision as you did. Well done! Stay well and stay strong Kathy, Pat

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