The hidden dangers of falling: Not just for the elderly…

Last month the Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee hosted a one-day get-together of elected members and professionals from across public health, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, urgent care, nursing, housing and commissioning to discuss how falls and any resulting fractures can be better prevented in the future.

Approximately one in three people aged over 65 will fall in any one year in Devon. This figure rises to one in two in the over 85s. Half of the people who suffer from a hip fracture as a result of a fall will never regain their former level of function.

Because the problem of people falling is so sizeable, it is really important that professionals from all walks of life get together and deliver services which are well-coordinated and, most importantly, provide the best possible outcomes for patients and the population as a whole.

The effective prevention of falls should not start when a person reaches a certain age. Improving people’s bone and overall health as well as their fitness throughout their lives is important because lifestyle choices can impact on people’s risk of falling. For example, approximately one in six children aged 10-11 in Devon are obese and only approximately 17% of adults participate in sports in Devon. Any of these factors can impact on a person’s risk of falling later on in life.

The Health & Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee will receive a report on the discussions of the day-long review on 27 November, and you can have a look at it online on our website from around 20 November. The report will include recommendations of how members think the situation could be improved.

If you suffered from a fall recently, or know someone who is affected why don’t you give us a call and share your experience with us? Our telephone number is 01392 384383; or drop us a line, our email address is scrutiny@devon.gov.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

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