Falls in the home or out and about in the community can be a concern for our Brightwater at Home clients and their families. And building a strong relationship between clients and their Brightwater team is so important to support them in building confidence and strength to reduce their risk of falls.
“Some of our clients can become afraid to go out as they are worried about falling. On the other hand, others will go out frequently and not show due care and end up falling. Once an elderly person falls and has a major injury, it can really affect their confidence,” says Brightwater Senior Physiotherapist, Meredith Polglaze.
Brightwater at Home use a collaborative team approach with clients, to help them set and achieve their goals and reduce the risk of falling.
“Our team works together to educate clients, put in exercise programs and equipment, or aids to help people be safer in their homes and prevent falls. The team includes occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nursing and our community support workers.”
“The physiotherapists help with assessment of people’s physical abilities. From this we can put a training program in place to help strengthen muscles, improve balance and improve people’s walking. The programs are simple at the beginning, but progress to be more challenging as a client’s ability, fitness and their confidence improves. Along the way we will try harder things, for example walking in their garden, down slopes, crossing roads and negotiating obstacles.”
The occupational therapist will look at the client’s functional task ability amongst many other things.
“Many falls happen in the bedroom or bathroom. An occupational therapist can recommend installation of aids such as rails, bed rails or toilet raisers. Provision of these aids really helps to complete these day to day tasks much more safely and it can increase a client’s confidence.”
An occupational therapist will also look at simple things such as where to keep commonly used items in the house.
“If a client feels unsafe bending down to reach into the bottom of the cupboard, the occupational therapist will make suggestions of where to keep these items, perhaps on the bench top so bending and reaching is not required. Simple fixes often make the biggest difference.”
The nursing team play an important role too, and liaise with the client’s GP. Nurses monitor client’s medications, pain and wound management.
“Many medications are associated with falls and getting the right balance is important.”
Community support workers are integral in the assistance provided day to day, when clients are most at risk.
“The community support workers can help clients get ready in the morning, and assist with showers, cleaning and making the bed. When a client wants to go out, they might help with some of the more difficult tasks, like getting items from the top shelf at the grocery store.”
“Our community care workers are often called ‘angels’ for the help they provide in making our clients feel safe and confident at home.”