DOVER, DE (September 14, 2022) – Falls can lead to broken bones, head injuries, and temporary or permanent disabilities, and the Delaware Coalition for Injury Prevention’s Falls Prevention Team says it takes a community effort to prevent them. The Injury Prevention Coalition is part of the Office of Emergency Medical Services section of the Division of Public Health (DPH).
In recognition of the importance of falls prevention, Governor John Carney and Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long proclaimed September 18-24, 2022 Falls Prevention Awareness Week, consistent with the week recognized in the national scale.
“We must be mindful of all Delawareans, especially our most vulnerable neighbors,” Governor Carney said. “When everyone is focused on how they can prevent falls, we create safer communities. »
“Falls prevention is important not only to keep people of all ages safe, but also to reduce pressure on emergency services and the health care system,” said Steve Blessing, Chief of the Services Bureau. emergency medical services and DPH preparedness. “Falls create a ripple effect in the person’s life, the lives of their families who may need to arrange a higher level of care for them, and EMS and the medical system as a whole.”
Falls occur in people of all ages, although in the United States, young children and the elderly are most at risk of suffering fall-related traumatic brain injury. Traumatic brain injury leads to major changes in the life of the individual and their family. In the United States, falls are the leading cause of trauma-related hospitalizations among adults ages 65 and older, with one in four in that age group falling each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC). According to the Delaware Trauma Registry, 3,229 people were injured in falls and seen at a Delaware trauma center in 2021. Of this total, 1,833 were over the age of 64 and survived the fall while 38 people of this age group have died.
“Head injuries and hip fractures are unfortunately common among seniors who fall, and this impacts their long-term mobility,” said Lieutenant Governor Hall-Long, who is also a registered nurse. . “It’s so important for them to improve their balance and strengthen their leg muscles, which can get weak from inactivity.”
The Falls Prevention Team urges communities, businesses, schools, organizations and households to follow these safety tips to prevent falls:
Adults, especially the elderly and people in wheelchairs and walkers, can have regular eye and hearing exams and see their health care provider to review medications, balance and coordination, muscle strength and level of physical activity. Adults should eat nutritious foods and beverages, stay hydrated, exercise regularly, and sleep appropriately.
· Wear shoes in good condition with no worn soles or heels. Shoes should fit snugly and not fall off the feet. People at risk of falling should wear shoes and slippers that fit around their feet with no open backs.
· Make sure canes and walkers fit properly.
· Do not allow animals to get under your feet. Teach them basic commands like “sit” and “stay.”
· Use motion-activated lights to keep driveways and parking areas well-lit. Use motion-activated night lights indoors.
· Keep homes, yards and public spaces free of clutter.
· Maintain walkways to ensure a smooth surface with no crumbled or splintered surfaces. Prevent slippery conditions by removing snow, ice, rain, wet moss, leaves, oil and other substances that can cause people to fall.
· Ensure there are curbs or other detectable warning surfaces that meet national/local safety codes and guidelines provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Curbs, tactile surface pavers, slopes, contrasting colors and other universal design elements benefit everyone, especially people with disabilities who use walkers and wheelchairs, those who push strollers and to those who cannot see well or who lift their feet easily on the sidewalk.
· Install handrails, ramps and automatic doors and keep them out of harm’s way.
· Use entrance mats with flat, secure edges that do not roll up. Absorbent floor mats catch rain and snow at entrances and spilled drinks in food service establishments.
To improve coordination and balance, older Delawarens can enroll in A Matter of Balance© classes that take place in communities across the state. For a schedule of A Matter of Balance© course, call Volunteer Delaware 50+ at 302-515-3020.
ChristianaCare offers BingoCize, an evidence-based falls prevention program integrating bingo and exercise, and ThinkFirst to Prevent Falls© program, which can be done virtually or in person. The ThinkFirst program covers home modifications, medications, balance, healthy eating and other strategies to prevent falls. To schedule these programs and get more information, email [email protected].
For more information on falls and fall prevention, see the CDC’s Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths, and Injuries (STEADI) program at https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/index.html and the National Council on Aging at https://www.ncoa.org/. For falls data, visit the Delaware Trauma System Registry webpage at https://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/ems/trauma.html.
Proclamation in observance of Falls Prevention Awareness Week
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The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services, is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Council for its exceptional dedication to driving change through innovation. DPH is committed to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Delaware by promoting health and wellness, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.
Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind or has speech impairments can contact DPH by first dialing 711 using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.
The Delaware Department of Health and Human Services is committed to improving the quality of life for Delaware citizens by promoting health and wellness, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, is urging Delawarens to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen every day (including TV, computer, games), get 1 hour or more of physical activity every day, and drink almost no sugary drinks.