Date:January 26, 2018

Doctor at local hospital shares advice to prevent falls

Dr Theodora Giokarini-Royal, consultant orthogeriatrician and Paula Tucker, deputy chief nurse at Surrey and Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust are keen to promote wellbeing by helping people to prevent falls at home.

Dr Giokarini-Royal, who has worked at SASH since 2012, said: “As a consultant geriatrician I see the impact a fall can have on people who come to the hospital. A broken hip can be a life changing event and can leave people feeling vulnerable and isolated.”

Dr Giokarini-Royal, who is clinical lead for falls, runs a monthly falls clinic at SASH has shared some of the causes of why people fall and how we can help prevent them.

“Falls frequently  happen indoors. There are many causes of falls happening at home, some of which are preventable. Environmental factors can be an issue, I advise people to ensure their houses are decluttered and well lit. Pets, loose carpets, rugs and uneven surfaces all pose a trip hazard.

“If you have a walking aid it is important that you use it correctly and have it checked regularly; especially walking sticks as the rubber stopper on a walking stick can become worn out and may need to be replaced

“If you or a relative has fallen and now feel unsteady, talk to your GP. To reduce the risk of falling wear sturdy well fitted shoes or slippers with gripping soles, for both indoors and outdoors. Ensure you have regular eye tests and wear your prescribed glasses. A GP can also arrange home visits from the community falls team -who can support you to make necessary adjustments to your home and giveadvice about exercise that is good for strength and balance that will also help reduce the risk and incidence of falls.

“Other things that may contribute to your risk of falling are foot health, ulcers, bunions and poor nail care. Continence issues can contribute to the risk of falling as you may have urgency and a tendancy to rush. If you experience urinary symptoms please discuss with your GP.

Paula Tucker, deputy chief nurse at Surey and Sussex Healthcare, said: “All falls; even those that do not result in injury  can cause patients and their families and carers to feel anxious and distressed and can have a serious impact on their physical and emotional health and confidence.

“Being aware of ways to prevent falls is important becausefollowing a fall, many people have fear of falling again, which can then reduce their quality of life and wellbeing.”