It’s balance and falls month at Complete Care Shop and this week we’re focussing on what you should do in the event of a fall.
Previously, we have touched on ways to help avoid falls including exercise, ways to keep safe while you’re outside and things that may alleviate your fears if you do fall.
You should try and plan ahead so you can work out what steps you would need to take if the worst did happen. If you have a mobile phone, keep it charged and on or near to you at all times. You may also want to consider getting a fall alarm system if you haven’t already got one.
But what should you do if the worst happens and you do take a tumble?
- Don’t try and move straight away
Take a second to pause and get your bearings. Any fall, no matter how minor it seems to you, can give you an uncomfortable shock to the system. If you’ve hurt yourself, it may also take a second for any pain to register.
- Work out if you can stand
If you haven’t hurt yourself and feel able to, see if you can get yourself back up again. But take it slow. The NHS advises that you roll onto your hands and knees and use a stable piece of furniture to help you stand up again.*
Once you’re back on your feet, take moment to sit and rest somewhere. If you have any worries about your health, speak with your doctor or call 111 for support.
If you can’t stand up or are hurt
Try to stay calm. There are three main ways you can try and summon help if you’ve fallen and can’t get up again or are hurt.
- Use your fall alarm or mobile phone (if you have one)
If you’re able to, press the button on your fall alarm to get help. Alternatively, if you have a mobile phone on you, use that to call for assistance, whether that’s a relative, 111 or 999 if you’ve hurt yourself and need medical help.
- Crawl towards your landline phone (if you can)
Don’t try and move if you are seriously hurt. But if you can and are near to an accessible landline phone, try to crawl towards it. Take it slow, give yourself time, and try not to panic.
- Make noise
Shout, hit the floor or the wall, essentially make noise in whatever way you can to draw attention to yourself. Keep making noise until someone comes to help you.
While you wait for help, try to keep yourself warm and as comfortable as you can. The NHS suggests pulling a blanket or dressing gown over yourself if you have one nearby that you can reach. They also recommend changing your position every 30 mins or so if possible.* NHS Scotland advise trying to move to a soft surface like carpet if you have fallen on a tiled or wooden floor.** This is because softer surfaces tend to be warmer and also more comfortable.
Get medical help
Even if you don’t feel like you’ve hurt yourself in the fall or if it’s “just a bruise”, it’s still important to check in with your doctor. This is because there may be a medical reason why you fell, and they may want to check you out just to make sure you’re alright.
You can also call 111 if you need medical help or advice that can’t wait but isn’t an emergency.