Simple TIPS to get up From the Floor if you’ve Fallen & Alone!

As one gets older, the possibility of being in a slip-and-fall mishap considerably increases. A significant portion of adults, ages 65 and older, fall at least once a year. As one may imagine, a slip and fall can be quite painful, not to mention shocking and traumatizing. While most falls result in no or minor injuries, others can lead to serious problems. Are you familiar with the steps to take after a fall? Or how to help an elderly person get up from the floor? If you do not, worry no more. This guide will take you through the necessary post-fall steps depending on the presence and severity of injuries.

What to Do if You Fall

A slip-and-fall is easier to manage when there are people around. However, quite often, these incidents occur when the involved person is all by themselves. In this case, you need to have prior knowledge of what to do. While the exact steps will vary depending on the severity of the fall and injuries, here is a general guide that will work in most instances.

Calm Down and Take a Breath

It is all too easy to panic after a fall, especially for older adults. However, panicking will probably result in poorly-thought decisions that might worsen any injuries that might have occurred. If you fall, take a moment, relax, breathe in, and do not make any sudden movements.

Carry Out an Injury Self-assessment

Carrying out an injury assessment is usually much easier when you have another person doing it to you. However, it can be a tad complicated when it’s a self-assessment. Here are some things to look out for using a modified version of the Red Cross injury assessment guide [1].

  • Use your arms to slightly go over your head, focusing on the nose, mouth, ears, face, and scalp. Look out for any abnormalities that might have happened as a result of the fall.
  • Look for depressions, bumps, bruises, and cuts. If you are not sure whether a part is injured, compare it with the part on the body’s opposite side.
  • Look out for any changes in your breathing. A healthy person should breathe regularly, quietly, easily, and without discomfort and pain. Abnormal breathing includes very fast or very slow inhalation, painful breathing, gurgling, rasping, whistling, and gasping for air.
  • Assess how the skin feels and looks. Use the back of your hand to determine whether your skin feels abnormally hot, cold, or damp. You should also check for changes in skin appearance such as reddening, ashen, or pale-looking.
  • Look over all visible body parts. When doing this, move every moveable body part that does not hurt, including moving your head from side to side.

Getting Off the Floor

If you determine that you have not suffered any major injuries, you can proceed to get off the floor. If you have any serious injuries, call for help by shouting, banging on the floor, or making a call if you can access your phone. Here are some quick tips that can come in handy when calling for help.

  • Make use of the community alarm if you have it.
  • Call 911 if you can reach a phone
  • Use the phone to call a nearby friend. This can be particularly easy if you have such a person on speed dial.
  • If you have a voice-activated speaker or smart-home system, ask it to call for help.
  • Shout for help if you cannot reach a phone.
  • Bang on a wall or floor if there is someone nearby who can hear the sound.

If, on the other hand, you feel well enough to get off the floor, follow the steps below. Keep in mind that it is still advisable to visit a doctor as soon as you can for further assessment.

  • Roll onto one side of your body.
  • Push up into a sitting position.
  • Get into a crawling position where you are resting on your knees and hands.
  • Crawl to a rigid piece of furniture (such as a chair) that can support your weight.
  • Kneel near the chair with your body positioned sideways to the chair.
  • Slide your stronger foot forwards until it’s flush with the floor.
  • Place both hands on the piece of furniture.
  • Rise whilst turning your body until your bottom is securely on the chair.
  • Rest for a few minutes and redo the injury assessment.

Safety Measures to Prevent Falls

At times, falls are caused by easily-avoidable human factors. Here are some steps you can make to reduce the occurrence of falls in your household.

Clean Up the Clutter

A significant number of falls are caused by objects cluttering up doorways, floors, staircases, and other surfaces. To reduce falls, make sure that your space is as clutter-free as it can be. Items such as clothing, magazines, shoes, and other movable objects should be placed away from regular walkways.

Remove All Tripping Hazards

A power cable sprawling across the living room is a recipe for disaster. Try to remove all tripping hazards in all rooms. Such hazards include loose power cables, slippery mats, damaged floorboards, and loose carpets.

Install Handrails and Grab Bars

Grab bars and handrails can prevent falls by giving the older person something to hold on to as they walk around the house or up and down the stairs. Other areas to install these useful devices include bathtubs, toilets, and hallways.

Avoid Wearing Overly Loose Clothes

Baggy clothes can easily drag on the ground and cause one to trip. Additionally, watch out for loose shoelaces that can easily trip someone.

Ensure Adequate Lighting

Most older adults have vision-related problems. This poor eyesight can cause falls when such a person cannot correctly discern the presence or distance of a potential hazard such as a bump on the floor. However, sufficient lighting conditions can solve this problem. Make sure that every space the elderly person visits is well lit.

Avoid Walking with Only Socks On

While it may feel alluringly comfortable, walking on socks alone can be potentially hazardous. If your living spaces have slippery floors, socks are much more susceptible to slipping than shoes. Encourage your loved one to wear shoes when walking around the house.

Invest in Non-slip Coatings

Regardless of how careful one walks, slippery surfaces can render such efforts moot. To reduce the occurrence of falls, invest in high-quality non-slip materials to cover surfaces such as bathtubs, floors, and porches.

Live on One Level

Living on one level implies that any older person who lives with you does not have to go up and down staircases frequently. If living on one level is not much of an option, consider limiting the number of trips an elderly person takes up and down the stairs.

Schedule a Check-Up with Your Doctor After Any Fall

If you are lucky enough not to require emergency medical attention, you still need to visit a doctor for the reasons [2] outlined below.

Diagnosing Injuries

Some injuries such as abrasions, cuts, and bleeding can be easily discernible after a fall. However, other injuries are much harder to detect and require a professional medical specialist to do so. Visiting a doctor allows them to conduct a series of tests and imaging procedures to diagnose any injuries you might have missed. Your doctor may request scans such as CT, MRI, and X-ray to diagnose any injuries.

Electric Stimulation Therapy

Commonly known as E-stim, this therapy involves placing tiny electrodes on the skin right above the injured area. The electrodes are used to pass small electrical impulses to the affected tendon or muscle. The impulses get the muscles and tendons into the final fatigue stage, relieving any stress and pain.

Heat and Cold Therapy

This is a therapy proven to promote healing and alleviate pain in people with injuries. If you are experiencing muscle spasms, tense muscles, or pain after a fall, your doctor might prescribe this heat and cold therapy.

IASTM

IASTM stands for Instrument Assisted Soft Tissue Manual Therapy, a technique quite useful in rearranging soft tissue after a traumatic episode such as a slip and fall. Your doctor may prescribe this technique if your body has signs of injuries, tears, and sprains on the ligaments, tendons, or muscles. The procedure is also quite effective against whiplash, one of the most common outcomes of serious falls.

Physical Therapy

If you experience a broken or fractured bone, the best option is to call for emergency medical help. However, if, for some reason, you did not do this, you will need to see a doctor as soon as you can. Your doctor may then prescribe physical therapy to enhance the healing process. Physical therapy helps retrain your body in a manner that does not harm your posture.

For Advice on Home Care

Depending on the severity of your fall and any resulting injuries, your doctor will advise on the necessary steps to enhance recovery. These might include any of the ones outlined below.

  • Taking a bath with Epsom salt to reduce inflammation and relax muscles.
  • Applying a cold towel or ice on the affected area.
  • Applying pressure to the affected area to reduce inflammation.
  • Taking pain-relief medications.
  • Resting, in order to give the body ample time to heal.

When to Call 911

If you slip and fall when you are all alone in the house, it is always a good idea to let someone know of your predicament as soon as possible. More often than not, calling 911 is usually the best option unless you feel perfectly fine. However, even in the latter case, you will still require medical attention. Here are some of the instances in which you should definitely call 911.

  • If you feel like you are drifting out of consciousness, call 911 immediately if you can.
  • If you are experiencing back, groin, hip, head, or knee pain, it is best to call 911 right away. This also applies when you are experiencing dizziness or disorientation.
  • If you are bleeding, call 911 immediately. However, if the bleeding is mild and from a tiny bruise, you can carry out some basic first aid procedures to alleviate that.

Conclusion

Experiencing a slip-and-fall while alone at home can be a super scary experience. However, you now have some degree of control over what happens next based on the steps discussed earlier. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this article, you should be able to navigate the experience and get the medical attention and care you require.

Citations

  1. https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/first-aid/performing-first-aid/first-aid-steps
  2. https://chirocareflorida.com/treatment-options-after-fall/
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