Fall Prevention-Boomer Health at Home

Fall Prevention-Boomer Health at Home



hello I'm Greg Jamie N and welcome to boomer health at home as more baby boomers receive medical services at home there are many questions that pop up that require sometimes quick answers I have put together a series of short segments with healthcare professionals that will help explain how things work along with answers to common questions found in home-based kit I hope you find the following information helpful hello and welcome to another episode of boomer health at home I'm your host Ryan Donnellan this is a show where we aim to deliver useful information to help you and your loved ones keep a nice healthy lifestyle and concentrate on your health and well-being today joining me is a registered nurse with oka med nursing and rehab Joyce wor Joyce thanks for being on the show well it's my pleasure to be here thank you well great could you tell they are our viewers at home a little bit more about yourself yes well I know I don't look but I have 40 years of experience in the health care industry I have been a bachelor's prepared registered nurse for the past 14 years I have been employed with Oakwood in Beaumont I have been in ICU nurse I have been a home health care nurse I have been a home health care nursing manager as well as a case management manager I just most people know that it's discharge planning prior to that I have been a chiropractic physician since 1977 so I come with a variety sort of eclectic background in health care and I think an important one is I am now the primary caretaker for my 92 year old mother who lives with me as well so well that's great that's an extensive resume and then very impressive so we're happy to have you on the show thank you well today we're going to talk about the number one cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in the baby boomer generation today of course that being Falls Joyce what has been your experience in the field on this topic well Falls account for a huge number of admissions to the hospital at the hospital level Falls in of themselves account for a lot of fatalities and injuries they may not be the primary underlying cause of why the person fell in the first place so I'd like to explore that a little bit as we talk there are a lot of underlying health conditions that contribute to Falls and sometimes when a person lives alone the family or those closest to that person don't notice the gradual onset of changes that are associated with aging right well yeah I guess it brings up a point what are some things about Falls that maybe the general public overlooks well the primary thing is that most Falls are preventable just by surveillance and knowledge and information about the person's health status their social environment and their environment within the home some simple things could prevent most Falls yeah that's that's something to consider now when when these Falls happen what is the number one risk would you say that within the home that the fall itself or well they're not the fall itself it's usually there you have to go through the home and you have to look for trip hazards okay you have to look for the environment in the performance of what we call ADL's or activities of daily living are they cooking safely are they bathing safely are they ambulating to and from the bathroom safely and people as they age their number one fear is loss of Independence and dignity so oftentimes they will try and hide that from those closest to them they don't want to be put in a nursing home or shut away or lose their independence yeah I've heard that where someone who tells a story will say hey their loved one fell but they didn't even tell me I mean I guess could you emphasize the risk that someone takes by not reporting a fall well especially depending upon that person's underlying health conditions for instance if they're on Herot medications or blood thinners and so forth they could have an internal bleed which could lead that could be serious if not fatal they could have fractures of bones many older people are have osteoporosis or thinning of the bone structure and they'll tend to hide those things from their family before the reasons that we talked about before yeah imagine it and sometimes I mean it's almost like socially embarrassing they may heart attacks kind of acceptable but a fall could be embarrassing but AB or not to let that to sway your decision to not report it or seek medical attention right right yeah so well that's very good now I'm with the people that at home and maybe loved ones that are caring for people at home I mean what should you just mention some of the fall risk so what are some other things people should look for if they're concerned about their loved one well you should look for decline in vision which can be very gradual and not even noticeable to the person that you're concerned about increased loss of vision cataract formation may not even be it's not a sudden onset it can be very gradual and people can adapt and and try and hide at loss of cognitive abilities forget forgetfulness impulsiveness not doing things safely not moving safely and in my experience seniors can be very good at hiding those things at times confusion and so forth can be very gradual and you know a number of things around the home that people people may lose the ability to keep a clutter clutter down housekeeping and so forth and they may not be doing things safely a big one is driving safely you know and just moving about the home in a safe manner right well the main thing you said too is that the Falls can be preventable and I think in order to do that we all need a little more education on it for us and our loved ones and we would definitely hear some more information so when we come back we can talk about a little bit more about with family members and patients themselves can do to prevent Falls absolutely thank you you you welcome back before the break our special guest Joyce was talking about Falls what causes them and the inherent and dangers associated with them joining me as our my co-host Brett Polti and we're gonna discuss with Joyce some prevention methods as well as tips for your family on how to help loved ones they might may be at a fall risk welcome to the show Brett thanks for having me so we're talking earlier about the different Falls now again if you could just kind of touch on the topic again what causes Falls what are some of the biggest risks in the home well one thing that we want to remember is that the vast majority of Falls are preventable with some simple things number one we have to look at the physical status of the patient are they weak are they moving well and so forth we can look at the home environment is very important as well are there cords from lamps is there too much furniture in the house are there throw rugs throw rugs is the number one problem with Falls in the home so looking at the bathroom environment particularly oftentimes families will notice a decline in personal hygiene and an aging relative and that's because they're afraid to go into the bathroom they're afraid they're gonna fall it's a very dangerous anxiety provoking environment for most elderly people right now you mentioned too that some of the Falls are associated maybe with an underlying medical condition what are some some steps that an individual who may be afraid of falling could take to maybe just kind of share their own safety well it's very important as a family unit that you have a good relationship with your personal physician there are many underlying health issues that precipitate Falls number one loss of vision there could be underlying diabetes blood sugar regulation problems there are millions of people in the United States that are diabetic and don't know it and the most prevalent type is diabetes type 2 which is usually onset after age 50 even with no family history so it's important that your doctor does regular bloodwork to look at that also you have to look at foot health degeneration of circulatory function can cause problems with the feet I mean how often have any of us looked at our parents feet when they get older I mean it's not something you normally do but you should make a point to do that or have the physician do it congestive heart failure or a decline in cardiac function can cause problems with either high blood pressure or low blood pressure people will get dizzy when they first stand up because they don't accommodate to it so you can see there are multiple multiple problems cognitive abilities in order to think clearly to move safely a lot of times the lung function declines that you're not breathing well you're not oxygenating the brain well and you're not making safe decisions so there are many facets to look at what you should do with your healthcare professional and the family all together and as you were saying earlier you know another one of the big things is throw rugs what about you know what people choose to wear on their feet what would be a better option for someone who may have you know following tendencies well first of all you want to make sure that the Footwear fits properly if they're diabetic they can't have the shoe or anything rub anywhere a lot of times you only you can get prescription Footwear that will do that make sure that there is an and skid bottom on the shoe how slippers and those kind of things throw them out there just no good so yeah you know one of my loved ones that I had a great aunt who into her 90s still wore high heeled shoes I mean it was just her style and stuff so eventually actually that's what we have to my right we did get her a walker much like this so instead of giving that up have a device that can assist you maybe a walking cane or a walker that nature just on hand just if the struggle is maybe some stuff like you're saying that they're wearing have an alternative plan to kind of counter that right hand falls while you're out so yeah this is a great device here that looking at is the one it's got the seat it's got the Walker it's got brakes on it so it's good for all different weather patterns and stuff yes there are just a multitude of really wonderful products out there that can make the person's safer in the home but I have to stress it as important that you have a professional provider provide that equipment if the equipment is not the right size it's not appropriate for their needs it can actually increase their risk factors rather than decrease them and they have to be instructed how to use them safely that's why it's a really good idea to go to a professional medical supplier in conjunction with your doctor to have them evaluate what your actual needs are in order to do it safely and just like you were saying with you know every person has different needs for a product of this nature I've had family members in the past we bought you know just the standard Walker of this nature and it didn't fit their needs because they were a bigger person right we weren't even aware there was a bariatric one until we until we talked with someone yeah it has to be able to support their weight it has to be at the right height and they have to be instructed into how to properly use it so it's very important that you do that with a professional yes and I believe that's you had mentioned that the the risk with in bathrooms due to the environment and slippery it looks like we have some products here that is a great example what she's talking about with having professionals come in evaluated and professional grade professional installation these are some great things to think if you wouldn't think about such a different showerhead one that's actually more pliable so to help with the bathing aspects of it so that could definitely prevent some Falls and at least make it a little bit easier so and I know that you did touch on some medical conditions that could you know cause a person to be a fall risk but what about their medications polypharmacy is what that's called people go to different doctors they get multiple medications sometimes duplicate medications the medications can affect the blood pressure which can precipitate hate Falls pain medications we're now in the opioid crisis is a terrible drug problem to have amongst our elderly population they're over medicated they have duplicate medications vitally important that you have the medication reviewed with your doctor and it's vitally important that you go to a single pharmacy so that they can monitor the intake and make sure that duplication or over medication is not a factor which is a huge problem in precipitating Falls great now in your professional experience you've worked in the homes you've worked in the hospital so you know we have viewers all across the country of course and they may be they have loved ones here in the state that they're worried about but they can't necessarily be there 24/7 what advice could you give to them well we most people don't realize until they reach that point in their life that home health care it is a covered Medicare option you don't necessarily need to have been in the hospital in order to or had surgery or anything like that to be prescribed home health care you can get that prescription from your doctor okay and you can have a physical therapist therapist or occupational therapist or home health care nurse come directly into the home and evaluate the home environment the medications the the functioning the ability to move the cannon and put a good care plan together for that out of state I know it's very difficult I fortunately have my mother living with me so I can oversee her care but I in today's society we're mobile people move all over the country for jobs and adult children many times look all the way across the country in those cases there are home health aides that you can get for as little as $80 a week to come in make sure the the parent is bathing make sure they're eating properly make sure they have groceries and it's much more affordable than people think and that keeps an open line of communication with those adult children in order to come up with a good transition plan and allow them to age in place and stay in their homes for longer period that's some great advice then we're gonna take a short break when we come back we'll discuss in some more advice that that Joyce has for the family member looking to care for a loved one don't go away welcome back so Joyce the main thing I think we need to kind of consider when you do have a loved one it's a delicate subject it's it's it's tense how do you recommend we go about approaching a loved one that we think may be at a fall risk absolutely in the process of aging you know it's really a role reversal of the parent-child relationship you know you're actually trying to parent your parent and sometimes it is not well accepted based on my personal experience the best advice that I can give you is not to come in and and track train you're gonna do this you're gonna do that we're gonna change you're living in if the person will become very anxious they need to feel like they have some kind of control over their future their living situation in their life and it may not be well accepted have a low stimulation environment to sit down and ask you know some leading questions discuss what do you think allow them to feel like they're having some input into decision making about home environment equipment and so forth or you may run into a very anxiety and angry parent at some point if you don't try and allow them that dignity great and that's you know dignity so important for any person so you know keeping that in mind now what are some tips that you would have for family members that might be you know worried about a loved one that has a fall risk right how do you recognize it well people can be very good at hiding problems especially you know in in the aging process its complex and layered and very gradual and insidious at times you have to kind of look for a lot of times long term memory stays intact but short term memory does not and you'll start to notice a few things word finding not being able to find items items put in odd places you kind of need to watch for social isolation and withdrawal a lot of times parents you'll find a you know parent fallen in the home or so forth and beta tell you about it and I didn't want to bother you so you have to be direct about those things and definitely you know have that social contact and be able to watch for these signs within the household and within the individual themselves sure yeah I imagine you know hearing that any change in their regular routine could be a warning sign that maybe they're like we talked about earlier how to fall and they're just not maybe they're injured at home you'll realize it so I think it's it's crucial to pay attention to what's going right one of the biggest fears of elderly people is oh my gosh they're gonna put me in a nursing home and I'm never gonna get out and you know that that causes a lot of anxiety and you just kind of have to be gentle you may have to repeat things several times you know but try and let them feel that they're having input into it and helping draw them to a logical conclusion about what is the best course of action to take now like you said earlier you know here you know a home health company can definitely help what type of like medications are available to make in the home to make things a little easier you know less risk of falling well there's a definitely look at the bathroom environment make sure they have table benches grab bars those kind of things again we covered the throw rugs the cords then you there's a lot of services available there are some excellent companies that can provide home companionship home health aide for actually a relatively small amount of money especially adult most adult children work there they're taking care children grandchildren and so forth and can't come three times a week to give a bath and those kind of things so there are many services available you can in Michigan especially Southeast Michigan has the senior alliance which has a website with many resources and there are several excellent companies available that are certified and provide excellent home health care needs what's your experience with you see the commercials for the medical alert devices and stuff of that nature do those help out once they're in the home or is it kind of absolutely they've you know been documented to save many lives in it and it gives a peace of mind to both the family and the adult person and allows them to live by themselves for a much longer period of time within the home so and there are have been many technical advances with the home alert systems in the past couple of years as well that's one thing I've been noticing with family members of my own family is that it's not just a pendant that you wear anymore I have family members I have one it's a bracelet that they wear you know still has the same button and everything that they need and now they're starting to be able to use it with a cell phone rather than just a landline phone right which I mean the like you're saying the advancements in technology are amazing they are and they it's it's great to see that they're actually making a huge benefit to people's health absolutely yeah they're they're so advanced now they can detect a fall as opposed to somebody laying in bed and so forth and it's it they're really excellent devices yeah they'd be good I know a lot of we always prepares almost for the home we talked about the home the home the home but a lot of Falls happen while the person's out gardening or you know stuff that nature how do you how do you promote safety when they're out of their their environment I guess is a question well yeah a lot of a lot of the monitors are now tied to bluetooth phones and so forth and and they have the ability to call help no matter where they are so it's an excellent device but as a health care professional you probably want to this is what we ask when a patient when we're thinking our family members having a problem ask have you or your loved one had a fall in the past year do you feel unsteady when standing or walking and do you worry about falling if you answer yes to any of those three questions your risk for falling is greatly increase and it a fall definitely increases substantially your your risk of dying within the near future so you want to do everything you can to prevent those Falls once you lose mobility from a broken hip or armor or back from a fall which is easy to do if your bones are thin and brittle you it tends to precipitate a downward decline so it is vitally important that you do these assessments to make sure your loved ones live healthy and happy lives great and I think that will help kind of cut some of the awkwardness of approaching those three questions are pretty easy to ask and you know it's it's saving life so it's kind of something needs to be addressed and and preventative measures seem to be the best thing and like you said the Falls are preventable so absolutely okay well we really appreciate you coming on the show you've shared a lot of great insight Brett thank you for coming on the show as well thanks for having me if someone has any more questions can you be reached is there a phone number they could call yet yes I am the care transitions liaison for Oak med private duty nursing and we can be reached easily and I don't happen to have the phone that's why we will share it yeah and we have a full staff of nurses and medical professionals that can answer any of these kind of questions and would be happy to assist you at any time great and likewise to if you have any the feedback or have any questions about any of the content on the show or even maybe you have suggestions for topics you'd like to see covered in the future we'd love to hear from you you can call us at area code two four eight two two eight two two seven zero thank you for watching have a great day you

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