Even When Socially Distanced, Prevent Falls, This Fall

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 10:14am

By Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine, news release

Taking the time to prepare your home can help prevent potential hazards.

Although the temperature has been unseasonably warm, we all know that winter is on the horizon. Given the upcoming weather change, we also know that we will soon be spending a lot more time indoors. Fall has historically been a time when friends and family gather more frequently around the table or the TV – making our indoor spaces more crowded. It was festive, but in the age of Covid-19, it is also potentially problematic.

In 2020, the entire world has been “social distancing.” But in addition to that important preventive measure, the medical professionals at Beacon Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine want to remind us additional ways to stay healthy right now. Don’t just wear a mask, wash your hands and keep distance, but this Fall is the time to make every concerted effort to prevent falls.

In any other year, you might have been expecting a houseful of people to visit during winter break or older relatives to gather to watch the big game. So, with various holiday celebrations on the horizon and the coronavirus already in our midst, we must prepare differently to stay safe and healthy. “Prevention is always the best treatment,” said Dr. Robert Rolf from Beacon. “Falls are often due to hazards that can be overlooked, but are truly easy to fix.” Dr. Rolf and the doctors at Beacon offer the following potential risks – and logical tips for remedying them.

Outdoors

· Make sure sidewalks and steps are well-lit.

· Clear away any snow and ice.

Floors

· Reposition furniture you must walk around.

· Remove runners and area rugs by using rubber padding or double-sided tape to prevent slippage.

· Make sure wires or cords are next to the walls, instead of mid-room.

Stairs and Steps

· Remove papers, books, shoes and other objects.

· Fully light stairways and steps.

· Make sure existing handrails are secure. NOTE: If you do not already have handrails, consider installing them.

Bathrooms

· Use non-slip rubber mat on the floor AND in the shower or tub.

· Consider installing grab bars next to -- and inside -- the tub.

· Consider installing grab bars next to the toilet.

Bedrooms

· Make sure there is a clear path (in the dark) from your bed to the bathroom.

· Plug in a rechargeable nightlight.

Throughout the House

· Keep items you use frequently within reach to avoid needing a stepstool.

· Wear shoes that provide good support and have thin, non-slip soles.

According to Dr. Rolf, these are simple ways we can help prevent falls for ourselves and those we love. If we do visit family over the holidays, he suggests looking around parents’ and grandparents’ homes to identify potential hazards and help them employ some of the preventive measures mentioned above. “Falling is a fairly common cause of disability among the elderly,” he said. “Taking the time to prepare your home or theirs is always worth it.”

However, sometimes the best preventive measures are not enough, and people still fall. If you or someone you love needs an evaluation, appointments are available at Beacon West, Lawrenceburg and Batesville, along with Saturday morning injury clinics and urgent care at Erlanger and Summit Woods. Go to www.beaconortho.com or call 513-354-3700 for an appointment. All 13 Beacon locations are seeing patients. Striving to ensure patient and staff health, Beacon offers Telehealth Video Visits and when seeing patients in person, they are using all approved safety protocols, including temperature checks, masks, hand sanitizing.

Providing a safe environment to diagnose and recommend the next steps for any injury is always the right thing to do. If you need to talk with a medical professional about pain, please visit our website to make an appointment or call 513-354-3700 to schedule an appointment.

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