I read the BMJ every week, and tag the articles that might influence my practice. This time, the article that caught my eye was about falls:
https://www.bmj.com/content/364/bmj.l880. The summary – assessment by an occupational therapist, and making your home safer works well in patients at high risk of falling.
We’ve all been there, talking to patients about their rugs, the hazardous route round the bed with all the slippers in the way. Patients like the way they live, and just handing out advice doesn’t always make a difference.
This article has a great wee box on the co-production of safety at home, how to make very real improvements. The language is quite technical, so I have paraphrased this below. I’m so excited about it that I may well make a waiting room display on the subject.
- If you are 65 or older and live at home, your risk of falls in the future is higher if you’ve had a fall in the last year, use a mobility aid, need help with basic activities, take medications that might make you sleepy, or if you are worried about falling
- An assessment of where you live by an occupational therapist could reduce your risk of falls
- The assessment involves a visit from the occupational therapist, who will recommend changes to tasks and your environment. These suggestions aim to reduce hazards and improve your independence and safety.
- The occupational therapist may also suggests gadgets and technology to improve your safety at home, such as an emergency buzzer.
- Occupational therapists typically ask you to identify what you think puts you at risk of falling, and you jointly problem-solve and agree on solutions.
I love that last sentence.