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Fall Prevention Awareness Week – September 24th – 30th 2018

Nothing in life is more inevitable than the fact that one day we will all be old or in need.  When we think of those at falls risk we visualise very frail elderly relatives shuffling around their homes on their own but the reality is that falls impact a much wider population.  30% of all people older than 65 and 50% of all people older than 80 have a fall at least once a year.1

Falls are estimated to cost the NHS over £2.3 billion each year.1 Not only do falls cause pain, immobility and distress to the patient but they also impact on that person’s carer and wider family, which very often are other vulnerable or elderly people.

So, who is at risk?

Risk factors are separated into intrinsic factors, those which are inherent to the person and extrinsic, those which are related to the environment. Intrinsic factors include old age, chronic conditions such as diabetes, dementia and arthritis, previous falls and poor vision or balance. There is very little that can be done about many of the intrinsic factors; good medicine management, correct sight wear and regular testing will all improve someone’s risk of a fall. The extrinsic factors can often be much easier to manage. They include lack of handrails, dim lighting, obstacles or trip hazards and slippery or uneven surfaces. However, is it that simple for a person at falls risk to get handrails fitted or improve the lighting in their home? We all have that odd job that we need to complete at home but very few of us get around to doing it. And how receptive are people at receiving the advice and acting on it. Research suggests many at risk believe it doesn’t apply to them yet or that falling is a part of getting older. Often advice about hazard perception is considered patronising and assumes the person is senile.

The challenge is bigger than first anticipated. So how do we really reduce the risk?

  1. One of the main elements that must be tacked to reduce the risks associate with falls is balance and exercise. This advice is well received by patients and is most effective when incorporated into every day activity or routines. As well as Tai Chi, Otago and LiFE there are a number of tailored exercise programmes that people can follow which if all over 65’s followed would prevent 7,000 unnecessary deaths a year – from hip fractures alone.1
  2. Medication review and regular check-ups are vital for reducing risk. Any recent falls should be recorded and the nature and cause discussed. Medication which cause drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure or blurred vision should be identified and if possible taken at a time of day that has the least impact.
  3. Regular sight and hearing tests are simple or organise can both reduce the risk of falls as well as ensuring people can keep their independence and aren’t missing vital information oral and aural.
  4. Those with a good support network of family are friends are also less at risk as they can share their concerns and ask for help when it is needed. People who are more isolated will take partake in more risky behaviours as they try to manage on their own.
  5. The final and most obvious activity that reduces risk is to safe check the home. Removing uneven flooring, rugs and trip hazards and fixing hand rails. Good footwear is also essential to ensure a steady footing.

If these 5 elements were tackled the impact would be substantial not only on the wellbeing of those over 65 but also the cost savings for the NHS through reducing the 4 million hospital bed stays each year in England alone. As healthcare professionals, it is our responsibility to educate those at risk of falls and move our attention to prevention rather than treatment.


  1. Age concern – Stop falling
  2. NICE Clinical guideline [CG161]
  3. Age concern- Don’t mention the F-word – 2012


Click here to see our guest blog titled ‘Driving at Christmas’ by Paul Clarke

The infographic was put together by Paul Clarke and his team at Rehab 4 Alcoholism, an alcohol rehab in the United Kingdom.  All facts in this infographic relate to the UK, but many of the facts are representative to other English-speaking countries that also celebrate Christmas.

Paul asked us to share this infographic on our website to raise awareness about drink driving at Christmas. The aim is to discourage people from considering taking this risk and to thus save lives. Publishing this website here allows Paul to spread this important message to a wider audience.

The infographic reveals that there is a 40% increase in alcohol consumption during December each year. During December 2016, Brits consumed around 600 million units of alcohol. This equates to around 21.4 million bottles of vodka, or 60 million bottles of wine. Since around 60 million people live in the United Kingdom, this equates to around one bottle of wine per person!


The infographic reveals around 110,226 breath tests were conducted nationally in December 2016, of which 5,543, or 5% were positive, failed or refused.

From this number, young people were more likely to fail or refuse a breath test.  5.27% of under-25s stopped by police failed or refused a breath test during the campaign, compared to 3.39% of drivers age 25+.

Click here to read the original post on Rehab 4 Alcoholism’s website



…and over-indulgent

‘Tis the season to be jolly….and overindulgent, which can have an impact on your health. Try our top tips to stay well this winter and still have a fabulous festive time.

Joanne Carey

Many of us enjoy a few beers here and there, some fizz to see in the new year, a glass of mulled wine at the Christmas market or a few G&Ts whilst waiting for Santa. However, these soon mount up to much more than the 14 units recommended a week.

  • If you are thirsty have a glass of water so you don’t drink your alcohol so quickly.
  • Order smaller sized drinks a small glass of wine is 125ml approx 1.5 units whereas a large is 250ml approx 3 units.
  • Use the days between Christmas and New Year to have at least 3 days alcohol free.
  • Drink plenty of water to replenish and clean your system.
  • Visit for more information on alcohol


Beating the winter blues

Long dull nights and cold dull days can make us feel a bit down or under the weather.

Niki Evans-Ward

  • Get out for a brisk lunchtime walk, wrap up warm and make the most of crisp, clear days. Keeping active releases endorphins and can lift your mood. 
  • Check if you need to take a vitamin D supplement, around 20% of adults may have low vitamin D status. The sun is our main source of vitamin D, our bodies can make and store this during the summer months to help see us through the winter. However, if your stores are low you may need a bit of help to top up during the winter months as we cannot get enough from the UK sun.
  • Get more sleep, many of us only average 6-7 hours a night and this may not be enough. Make the most of the dark evenings and mornings with early nights or later mornings, especially if you are off over the festive period.


Keeping your workplace well this winter

For many businesses, winter can be a challenging time as employees succumb to cough, colds, flu and digestive/stomach problems. Your colleagues may view becoming ill in winter as inevitable, however, there is lots you can do to help improve office health and wellbeing.

Niki Evans-Ward

    • Provide fresh fruit as alternative to all the sweets and chocolate, it can help prevent the afternoon lull as well as providing essential vitamins for the immune system.
    • Keep your staff hydrated – get your teams to share recipes for seasonally infused water or herbal teas.
    • Provide a flu vaccination service for employees.
    • Ensure good hygiene and provide hand sanitisers and tissues to prevent the spread of germs.
    • Encourage employees to take a lunchtime walk. Keeping active can boost the immune system.

    FInd out how we can help keep your company happy and healthy throughout 2017 with our health and wellbeing services.

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