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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Westchester Medical Center Health Network Urges Patients To Take Caution During Fall Prevention Awareness Month

With falls representing the #1 cause of hospitalization, WMCHealth urges Hudson Valley residents to fall-proof homes of elderly loved ones

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VALHALLA, N.Y. (September 18, 2019) – Trips and slips are no laughing matter, as falls in the home are the number one reason for hospital visits nationwide. At Westchester Medical Center, the flagship of the Westchester Medical Center Health Network (WMCHealth) and the only Level I adult and pediatric trauma center in the Hudson Valley, falls have been the most common injury-related hospitalization for a consecutive 15 years, making up more than 40 percent of all trauma admissions.

September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month, and WMCHealth urges people to take time to ensure that they and their loved ones are living in a safe environment with minimal risk of falls.

“At Westchester Medical Center, we urge caregivers to use Fall Prevention Awareness Month as a time to fall-proof loved one’s homes and to work with their families to devise strategies to reduce falls, maintain balance, increase physical activity and live longer and healthier lives,” said Kartik Prabhakaran, MD, Trauma Medical Director at Westchester Medical Center.

WMCHealth prioritizes fall prevention education, as falls can be a minor and avoidable mistake with major and lasting consequences:

  • 1 in 5 falls result in serious injury, such as a fracture
  • 33% of falls for people 65+ result in traumatic injury
  • 75% of falls occur in the home
  • Approximately 30% of elderly patients who are hospitalized as a result of a fall will either be re-hospitalized or will die within one year

In addition to the risk of injury associated with falls is the decreased quality of life and significant changes in day-to-day life that falls can cause -- especially in the elderly -- whether it be injury-related or increased amounts of intensive care that can limit the ability to live life on one’s own terms.

Many falls that occur in the home are preventable and the result of unsafe conditions. Caregivers play a significant role in assisting with fall prevention, and Dr. Prabhakaran offers the following tips to keep loved ones safe at home:

  • Wear properly fitting shoes and clothing
  • Make sure pathways are clutter free
  • Avoid standing on ladders or elevated surfaces
  • Remove rugs that are not properly secured with non-skid backing, especially at the tops of stairs
  • Install permanent grab bars near tubs and toilets
  • Remove wobbly furniture
  • Have proper lighting and use night lights
  • Review medications, as many prescriptions -- such as blood thinners -- can make a fall significantly more devastating and even predispose an elderly person to fall.

For more tips and facts from WMCHealth about fall prevention, click on below infographic:

Or watch this informative video: