A range of resources are available to help older Tasmanians sidestep the avoidable physical and emotional injuries of falling.
The new Stay On Your Feet TAS materials will help the one in three Tasmanians aged 65 years and over experiencing falls each year avoid preventable pain and hospitalisation.
Falls among older Tasmanians take a terrible physical and emotional toll and cause a lot of anxiety for families.
The fear of falling itself is debilitating, often making older people too afraid to leave home for fear of serious injury and embarrassment.
But falls and the fear of falling can be prevented and these materials will help older people stay on their feet and stay well for longer.
The Stay On Your Feet TAS resources and website provides information on how to prevent and reduce falls, what to do if someone does fall, how to get up again, how to overcome fear of falling, and how family and carers could help prevent falls.
All resources are suitable for personal use, community organisations and services, primary health care, hospitals and aged care homes with hard copies of brochures and posters to be distributed through community and medical facilities statewide.
The most common falls are not on stairs, curbs or over furniture, but rather slips, stumbles and trips on level ground.
Most fall injuries among older people are hip and thigh injuries and about one in five hospitalisations involved head injuries.
According to a recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report about 70 per cent of hospitalised falls cases in 2009-10 occurred either at home or in an aged care home.
One in every 10 days spent in hospital by people aged 65 and older in 2009-10 was due to a fall-related injury and the average stay in hospital for these fall injuries is about 15 days.
As a result of a hip fracture a person may spend over two weeks in hospital, another three weeks in rehabilitation and then need ongoing support and treatment for months.
The full range of the Stay On Your Feet resources TAS are available on the Department of Health and Human Services at www.dhhs.tas.gov.au/stayonyourfeet
The resources were first developed by the Western Australian health department and customised with their permission for Tasmanians.
16 April 2013