WDHB standing right behind April Falls campaign
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2 April 2013
 
Preventing falls in the community and in hospital is everyone’s business. And that’s the message of the April Falls promotion getting underway today at Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB).
 
Over the month-long campaign, the WDHB will be raising the community’s awareness of how exercise can help to reduce falls, the advantages of Vitamin D and how you can increase your intake, and about how you can make your own environment safe by eliminating hazards.
 
WDHB director of nursing, patient safety and quality Sandy Blake says falls are the single most common cause of injury in New Zealand.
 
“Many falls are preventable and it’s up to us all to ensure we work as a team to prevent harm from falls,” Mrs Blake says.
 
A fall is not something that only happens as we get older. For many people over the age of 55 there’s a very real concern that a fall will mean they lose their independence. People of all ages should be careful and try to reduce their risk of falling by remembering to:
 
  • Remain mobile - strong leg muscles and good balance are two of the best ways to decrease your chances of falling.
  • Make sure you have regular eye tests and look after your eyes - poor eyesight, incorrect glasses, and dirty glasses, can all contribute to falls.
  • Make sure you wear well fitting shoes and footwear and never walk round the house in socks or stockings that are slippery.
  • Ensure your home is safe - don’t leave hoses out that you might trip on and make sure you don’t leave slippery wet leaves on your paths.
  • Make sure your house, indoors and out, is well-lit, that you have handrails where there are stairs and you don’t have rugs, cords or furniture that you could trip over.
 
Mrs Blake encourages people to discuss any concerns with their doctor or nurse, and to ask for help if they feel unsteady on their feet.
 
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need a hand wherever you are,” Mrs Blake says.  “If you’re in hospital, make sure you know where your bedside call-bell is and ensure you have everything important, such as your glasses or walker, within reach.”
 
A national patient safety campaign, initially focusing on reducing harm from falls, is being coordinated by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and will be launched in May. The campaign will also focus on healthcare-associated infections, medications and perioperative harm.
 
More information about reducing harm from falls is available from the Health Quality Safety
Commission’s website, www.hqsc.govt.nz