If you fall, are badly injured, and can get to a phone, dial 999 and/or someone you know who can take you to a doctor or A&E. Older adults should call their health care provider or emergency number after a fall, even if there appears to be little or no injury, just to be safe. Also note that head injuries can be very serious.
For older adults living alone, the increased odds of a fall means a medical alarm system is a vital step to ensure protection. Just as we use medical insurance to protect our health and assets, a medical alarm system acts as a form of additional insurance when something happens (like a fall) that could be life-threatening when a phone is out of reach.
If a person falls avoid moving the person until it has been established that the fall has not caused serious injury. If a person is seriously injured call 999 for an ambulance.
• Do not try to get the person up off the ground immediately
• Ask the person to take some deep breaths, relax and place a pillow under the person's head
• Check for any injuries. Can the person move their legs and arms? Is the person in pain? Is there any obvious deformity? Bones sticking out, swelling, bleeding, unusual position of the limbs?
• Has the person hit their head? Does the person appear grey in colour, is the person unconscious?
Falls for many older people result in serious injury. Broken hips are one of the most common injuries from falls and can lead to serious disability for many people.
Older people may also be reluctant to tell you they have fallen and you may find out by accident. Sometimes injuries are not always evident straight away. Bruising will not appear for days after a fall or you may notice a family member walking with a limp or in discomfort. Even fractures can go undetected for days.
If a person has just fallen and you are trying to get them up off the floor remember to try and let the other person do the work.
If they are having problems moving, are in any pain or fearful of getting up call 999 for an ambulance.
If a family member falls in an aged care home or you come across a patient who has fallen in an aged care home, call for nursing staff. Do not attempt to lift another patient up off the floor.
Remember to check for injuries before attempting to move a person and don't persist if a person complains of pain.
• Do not hurry a person. Place a chair near the individual's head and one at their feet.
• Ask the person to roll onto their side.
• Support the person whilst they kneel on both knees facing the chair.
• Place the other chair behind the person ready to sit on.
• Ask the person to use the seat of the chair to support them whilst they bring one leg forward placing their foot on the floor.
• If they can, ask them to push up to standing position and place the other chair behind them to sit on.
• The person should be able to do this on their own. Do not lift a person or ask the person to place their weight on their feet if they're in pain.
This page was last updated on 12th November 2012