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Falls prevention

HEALTH INFORMATION

Incorporating new information in preventing falls

WHAT WE KNOW

People who have fallen and broken a hip also have a good chance of falling again. Ensuring that a person’s home is safe and unlikely to cause further falls can best prevent this. Issues to consider include:

  • Making sure that lighting is not too dim or too direct, and that light switches are easily accessible.
  • The edges of carpets and rugs should be tacked down.
  • Bathrooms should have a chair for bathing or skid-resistant mats, grab bars should be placed where needed and the toilet seat needs to be tall enough for easy transferring.
  • Kitchen items that are frequently used should be at waist level or on low shelves, a rubber mat should be placed in front of the sink and non-slip wax should be used on the floor.
  • Stairways need handrails and steps should not be slippery.

Other considerations include having regular eye-checkups and wearing comfortable, sensible flat shoes for improved mobility. Regular, comfortable exercise that includes strength training and cardio can also improve confidence and prevent falls.

OUR LATEST RESEARCH

Preventing further falls in people who call an ambulance as a result of a fall - a randomised contro

Many older people suffer a fall and it is not uncommon for older fallers to require paramedic care following such events. Routine transportation to hospital is of questionable value and may not be an effective or efficient use of resources. This randomised controlled offered non-transported fallers a new model of care following fall-related paramedic care.

Causes, consequences and costs of injury-related hospitalisations for people with dementia: identify

This research program explores the influence of dementia on the pattern of hospital admissions, clinical care, health outcomes and economic costs of older people with an injury-related hospitalisation. It provides data on the impact of injury on a person with dementia and the health system more generally.

Understanding and preventing physical and cognitive decline and falls in older people with dementia

Falls and functional decline are common in people with dementia. Falls are more likely to result in injury, death and institutionalisation when compared to older people without dementia. There is limited evidence that falls can be prevented in people with dementia. Strategies aimed at maintaining independence and preventing decline and falls are urgently needed. This research will a) further our understanding of fall risk and functional decline and b) explore novel fall and decline prevention programs, including the use of technology in older people with dementia.

Australian and New Zealand Hip Fracture Registry (ANZHFR)

There are approximately 17,000 new hip fractures in Australia and 4,000 in New Zealand annually. The cost of the event is enormous, both for the individual and their family, as well as the health care system. There is variation in models of hip fracture care within and between States and Territories (Aus) and District Health Boards (NZ). Much of what happens in the acute and rehabilitation settings impacts directly on the longer term outcomes for the person with the fracture. The ANZHFR allows for timely comparison of meaningful data that can be used by providers of care to understand clinical practice, and trigger a case for change in places where improvement can be made.

Interrelationships between physical, cognitive and psychological function and falls

The overall research objective of our ongoing research in this area is to develop a clearer understanding of inter-related underlying mechanisms of the effects across the triad of physical, psychological, cognitive and neural impairments on falls and healthy ageing.

Innovative approaches to prevent falls in older people

Physical exercise training has been the primary focus of single interventions trials to reduce falls and advance healthy ageing. However, high attrition rates suggest that current approaches are not sufficient to guarantee long-term adherence to exercise in the majority of older adults.

Novel methods for fall prediction in older people

Technological advances have enabled less expensive ways to quantify physical fall risk in the homes of older people.

Treating dizziness in older people

Despite effective treatments being available, up to 40% of older people with reported dizziness remain undiagnosed and untreated. A multidisciplinary assessment battery, with new validated assessments of vestibular impairments is required for diagnosing and treating older people with dizziness. This project will therefore aim to conduct a randomised-control trial of a multifaceted dizziness intervention based on a multidisciplinary assessment, and develop a multiple profile assessment of dizziness for use in Specialist Clinics.

Koori active and healthy ageing project

The project examines how to implement evidence based healthy brain ageing (dementia prevention) programs in urban and regional Aboriginal communities.

What else is happening in Falls prevention research at NeuRA?

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