Every 30 minutes, a British Columbian aged 65 or older is hospitalized due to a fall. And 83 per cent of these injuries happen to older adults living in the community. To mark Seniors' Fall Prevention Awareness Week 2021, Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) is calling on community-based clinicians to apply the recently published and first ever B.C. Fall Prevention: Risk Assessment and Management for Community-Dwelling Older Adults guidelines to their routine care of older adult patients aged 65 and above.
During Seniors' Fall Prevention Awareness Week, November 1-7, 2021, clinicians have an important role to play in encouraging seniors and fellow health professionals to learn more about fall risk assessment, management and prevention. Clinical assessment by a health-care provider can be done with simple, one-minute screening tools. For those at greatest risk, multifactorial interventions to address predisposing factors can also decrease falls by approximately 25 per cent.
In B.C., approximately 1,000 people die directly or indirectly due to a fall each year.Applying the guideline's key recommendations and proven interventions in the care of older adults could save many lives by reducing the likelihood of fall-related deaths and disability.
The new guidelines include a comprehensive overview of fall risk factors, tools to evaluate their patients' fall risk, patient management, referral options and useful resources related to fall prevention.
Some of the key recommendations from the guidelines include promoting appropriate exercises to improve strength, balance and mobility, assessing patients for their fall risk, and – for those evaluated as at risk or for those who have previously had a fall – conducting a multifactorial risk assessment reviewing medications, medical conditions, mobility, the individual's home environment and osteoporosis risk.
In addition to the clinical guidelines, there are a number of other resources available to families and health-care providers to increase education about the health consequences of falls, and ways we can proactively protect ourselves and those around us from the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.