Posted on 20/10/2020

What to do if your relative has a fall

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What to do if your relative has a fall

It’s balance and falls month at NRS Healthcare and this week we’re focussing on what you should do in the event your relative has suffered a fall.

It’s not nice to think about, but statistically around a third of people aged 65 and over will fall at least once a year. Once people are aged 80 or over, this increases to 50%.[1] So it’s key to both plan ahead and know what to do in the event the worst happens.

 

Check how they are

If they’re awake and responding to you, try to find out what has happened. You may need to call 999 if they’ve fallen due to ill health.

If they’re unconscious, not breathing or severely injured (such as heavy bleeding or broken bones) call 999 and ask for an ambulance. The operator will then give you further instructions.

If you aren’t sure, call 111 for help.

 

Guide them through standing up again, if they’re able to

It’s important that you don’t try and lift them back up again yourself unless you’ve been trained to do so. This is because you may get hurt in the process of helping them or you could unknowingly make the situation worse.

Try and guide them through the process of standing up by themselves. If they can, the NHS website recommends the following:

  • Encourage them to roll onto their hands and knees
  • Find a stable piece of furniture nearby, such as a bed or a chair
  • Get them to hold it with both hands and use it to support them as they stand up

They should move slowly. Once they’re upright, get them to sit down and rest for a while to help them recover from the shock.

If you have any doubts about their health and need immediate (but not urgent) help, call 111. You may want to encourage them to see their doctor, to check them over and rule out any underlying issue that may have caused the fall.

 

What to do if they can’t get up

Please do not try and lift them yourself unless you are trained to do so.

You need to call 111 to get assistance in getting your relative back on their feet again. In this case, it may take time for the paramedics to arrive. While you wait, try to keep your relative warm as it can get very cold on the floor and potentially leave them at risk of hypothermia.[2]

Keep them hydrated with water and, if they can, try to encourage them to change positions every half an hour or so.[3] This is to help prevent them getting stiff and sore.

Once the paramedics arrive, they will help get your relative up and assess their condition.

If your relative is hurt and needs emergency assistance, call 999.

 

Plan ahead

Falls can be a scary situation to navigate, but there are steps you can take to try and prevent them. We have some home falls prevention advice that may help.

You should also make sure your relative has plenty of ways to communicate with you or the emergency services if they need help.

It may be worth getting them a mobile phone, to always have on hand. If they aren’t comfortable with the latest technology then mobile phone like the CL8500 Amplified Clamshell Mobile Phone with an emergency call function may be a better option for them.

Man using the CL8500 Amplified Clamshell Mobile Phone

Alternatively, you might want to look into a fall alarm system like the Family & Friends Auto Dialling Panic Alarm, which is ideal if they live alone and aren’t comfortable with mobile phones. This system includes a pendant that they carry with them and an auto-dialler connected to their landline. If they fall, once they press the button, the auto-dialler will call three pre-programmed phone numbers to alert you that they need help.

If you need any help or advice in choosing the right product to meet your relative's needs, please call the Product Advice service on 0345 121 8111 or email [email protected].

If you have any worries or concerns about your relative’s balance or risk of falling, please encourage them to speak with their doctor, who may be able to offer further help and support.

 

 

 

 

 

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/falls-applying-all-our-health/falls-applying-all-our-health

[2] https://www.nhsinform.scot/healthy-living/preventing-falls/dealing-with-a-fall/what-to-do-if-you-fall

[3] https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/falls/

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