Falls campaign warning frail and elderly – “don’t fall down after lockdown”

A WOMAN from Hartlepool has backed a campaign for people to take care after lockdown – after having a nasty fall while on a shopping visit.

Sue Race, who is 69, was visiting her local Morrisons in the town last Monday when she had a fall on pavement in the car park.

She was taken to the University Hospital of North Tees where she was told she had a hip fracture and would need joint replacement surgery.

This was carried out successfully the following day and she is now making a good recovery.

Sue is supporting North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust’s campaign to highlight the risks of falling after social distancing measures were eased.

This is after a rise in the number of patients being brought into hospital with fractures after having a fall.

She said: “After a period spent indoors during social distancing, it’s so important people are careful when they are out and about.

“I am fit and healthy and I have had a fall which has ended in me needing surgery. It can happen to anyone, not just the frail or elderly.

“I am grateful to everyone who helped me – from the police officer who stayed with me while I was on the ground in pain, to the hospital staff who cared for me and were brilliant.

“But I want to call on others to not find themselves in the situation I was in. I wasn’t wearing the right footwear and was vulnerable to a fall. Please be careful.”

Senior clinical practitioner Carol Bowler, who is the Trust’s falls lead nurse, is calling on everyone to be careful.

She said: “Our campaign – Don’t Fall Down After Lockdown – is clear.

“Because people – particularly the frail and elderly – have spent an extended period in their homes and are now moving around outside more, they are more vulnerable to falls.

“People may have deconditioned as they have been at home. They are likely to have lost muscle tone and balance and elderly people may have lost confidence moving around.”

Carol has some simple advice and support which can help people avoid a fall.

This includes using a walking aid if needed, doing simple exercises, wearing suitable footwear, being mindful of tripping hazards, staying hydrated and eating well and taking medication when appropriate.

She said: “There are simple steps people can take to make sure they are safe.

“Regular exercise to help strengthen up is important, as is making sure hazards are removed at home. Being conscious of the surface we are walking on when we are outside is also so important.”

Kath Duncan, occupational therapist and discharge co-ordinator, said: “We have had an increase in falls from hip fractures.

“Please be aware of things in the home you may slip on and ensuring you have the right footwear on.

“Gardening is also a risk – being mindful of paving stones and being careful not to slip and end up in hospital.”

Keep following our social media pages for more hints, tips and information over the coming week.

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