“Ask a Nurse”Falls in the Home

Hello I am writing this so that we have clear advise and or guidelines about what we need to know to tell my 80 year old Mom who lives alone, what she should do in the event of a fall.

Nancy

Dear Nancy,

Thank you for your question and it is one that is of course is a concern to families who have an elderly loved one who is living alone- and who may fall.

It is of course a very good idea to provide your loved one with some sort of life line emergency call device support. Providers for this are listed on the internet.

Here is our advice:

What to do after a fall---

If you CANNOT get up -

If you feel any discomfort or are unable to get up, try to get help.

1. Call out for help if you think you can be heard.

2. If you have an emergency call device or telephone at hand- please use it.

3. If you don’t, try to slide yourself towards a telephone or a place where you will be heard.

4. Make noise with your cane or another object to attract attention.

5. Wait for help in the most comfortable position for you.

6. If you can, place a pillow under your head and cover yourself with a piece of clothing or a blanket to stay warm.

7. Try to move your joints to ease circulation and prevent stiffness until help arrives.

If you CAN get up:

The first thing to do is to catch your breath. Check and see if you are injured, even if you think you’re OK, take your time before getting up again.

Then follow these five steps for getting up:

1. Lie on your side, bend the leg that is on top and lift yourself onto your elbows or hands.

2. Pull yourself toward an armchair or other sturdy object then kneel while placing both hands on the chair or object.

3. Place your stronger leg in front, holding on to the chair or object.

4. Stand up

5. Very carefully turn and sit down.

Practice these steps often and be prepared in case you fall.