Fall Intervention: Prevent Falls for Seniors

Fall Intervention: Prevent Falls for Seniors

Education and early fall intervention is key to preventing falls amongst the over-65 community, according to Gold Coast Private’s head of rehabilitation, who says they are still admitting an alarming number of patients with fall-related injuries.

Look For The Signs

Dr Michael Johnson is urging local GPs to look out for early signs of frailty in their patients – a warning sign for falls – and to refer them to rehabilitation beforea fall occurs.

“GPs need to have a look at their patients when they come in with respect to a risk of falls as well as frailty, talk to them and establish if there are any issues,” he said.

“From there, they should send a referral through to us so that we can intervene and reduce their fall risk.

“With falls of this age group, prevention is crucial – otherwise, they end up having a fall and while the injuries could be minor like bruising and abrasions, they can also be more serious, like a hip fracture.

“At this age, the complications of surgery can be significant and often lead to more issues, so it’s best to be avoided altogether.”

Dr Michael Johnson is urging local GP's to look out for early signs of fragility in their patients and refer them to a fall intervention rehab before a fall occurs.
Dr Michael Johnson is urging local GP’s to look out for early signs of fragility in their patients and refer them to rehab before a fall occurs.

Fall Intervention: Anxiety Affecting Fall Rates

Dr Johnson said anxiety and loss of confidence were also major contributors to falls in the elderly. 

“It’s a vicious cycle,” he said.

“We see older patients who become increasingly anxious and concerned about the possibility of a fall, so they pull back on their level of activity to ‘avoid’ falling.

“However, by reducing their activity, they end up becoming an even bigger falls risk, and that’s usually when an accident happens.

“It becomes a downward spiral so it’s vital that we’re able to intervene early to stop these issues in their tracks.”

Dr Johnson said Gold Coast Private’s 52-bed rehabilitation unit was pro-active in their prevention efforts. He said the unit ran a weekly education program with a team of doctors and allied health professionals for inpatients. There are also people in the community who take part in the hospital’s ‘day therapy’ groups.

“The program covers a range of topics and is run by a multi disciplinary team, including physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nutritionists and speech pathologists – just to name a few,” he said.

Dr Johnson said generally speaking, the number of elderly people in the community who suffer from frailty is grossly underestimated.

“I would really encourage GPs to look at issues of frailty in their patients and if they have concerns, talk to us” he said.

“It is much easier to treat early, than further down the track.”

Anxiety and loss of confidence are major factors affecting fall intervention.
Dr Michael Johnson : Anxiety and loss of confidence are major factors affecting fall intervention.

Fall Intervention: Case study

Pat Miller always thought rehabilitation came after a serious injury. At least she did until she was seriously injured.

“You tend to think of going to rehab after a fall but I now realise it would have benefitted me before my accident,” the 82-year-old said.

“Rehabilitation at my age is equally about strengthening your body and educating yourself before a fall. I’ve learned so much at Gold Coast Private during the past couple of months and only wish I had done this sooner.”

Pat, who lives with husband Max at Paradise Point, has been working with Dr Michael Johnson and his Gold Coast Private rehabilitation services team after suffering a serious fall at home. She has been visiting Gold Coast Private two days a week where she is learning what she wished she knew earlier.

“My confidence has improved greatly,” she said.

“I’ve learned so much I had never thought of – even simple things like how to turn around safely.

“I now know rehabilitation isn’t just about overcoming injuries. It’s about helping you with day-to-day living.”

Gold Coast Private Hospital

For more information contact:

Gold Coast Private Hospital, Rehabilitation Care Centre, Level 2, 14 Hill Street, Southport QLD 4215, P: 07 5530 0125.

Visit Gold Coast Private Hospital’s website here.

The Gold Coast Private Hospital provides all the care you need in its fall intervention rehab
Dr Michael Johnson : The Gold Coast Private Hospital provides all the care you need in its fall intervention rehab

Day Therapy Program

Fast Facts about the Gold Coast Private day therapy program:

  • Tailored exercise program focused on strength, balance and reconditioning
  • Covered under private health insurance with hospital cover
  • Twice weekly for six weeks
  • Participants reviewed by rehab specialist
  • Program run by Occupational Therapist and Physiotherapist
  • Access to other allied health including Speech Therapist, Social Worker and Dietitian

For  more information call Day Therapy Program Coordinator, Shannon McColl – 07 5530 0125.

If you injure yourself, always seek medical help immediately. Read our article about why it is so important to seek emergency care when you need it.

Emergency Care: Do Not Ignore Your Health

Emergency Care: Do Not Ignore Your Health

The director of Gold Coast Private Emergency Care Centre (ECC) is encouraging the community not to neglect their own health. Especially during concerning times such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Less People in the Emergency Care Departments

Emergency medicine specialist Dr Anthony Padowitz works across the public and private sectors. Dr Padowitz said there has been a big drop in emergency department presentations across the board. He wants to remind people of the dangers of ‘putting your health on hold’. Dr Padowitz wants to reassure people that it is safe to visit a hospital.

“In recent months, we have observed a drop-off in the number of people presenting at our emergency departments for treatment, a trend also noted among GPs and allied health professionals,” Dr Padowitz said.

“Based on feedback from those patients who do present, we think that the trend is driven by two factors – people are concerned about catching COVID-19, or do not want to be a burden on the system during the pandemic.

“It may come as a surprise, but not seeking treatment until the last minute actually puts a strain on the system – if we can treat something earlier, it is better for everybody.

“We want to reassure the community that it is safe, and advisable, to visit a hospital, should you be experiencing a medical emergency.

“We have plenty of protocols in place to ensure people are kept safe and away from those presenting with respiratory symptoms.”

Dr Anthony Padowitz, Director of the Emergency Care Centre at Gold Coast Private Hospital, off Parklands Drive, Southport.
Dr Anthony Padowitz, Director of the Emergency Care Centre at Gold Coast Private Hospital, off Parklands Drive, Southport.

Always Seek Medical Advice and Emergency Care

Dr Padowitz said Queenslanders had done an outstanding job maintaining social distancing and dramatically reducing the spread of COVID-19. However, warned it was still vital that people sought medical advice and treatment should a health concern arise. He said ignoring or postponing medical attention for what may be a critical undiagnosed health issue was dangerous.

“All too often we see individuals present at our emergency department with a complaint that, had it been ignored, might have led to  serious longer-term repercussions,” said Dr Padowitz.

“At the height of the pandemic, presentations to Gold Coast Private’s ECC were down 30 per cent.

“Even now, we are still treating about 15 per cent fewer people than before the pandemic – a trend that is being experienced across both public and private sectors and one that is dangerous for public health.

“Fortunately, the number of patients presenting with chest pain remains normal, and we are seeing an understandable drop in injuries due to restrictions on sport and outdoor activities.

“The worrying trend is the drop in patients presenting with things like abdominal pain and chronic illness. This is especially evident in diabetic patients and we have seen some cases where the patient is very ill by the time they arrive at hospital.”

Gold Coast Private Hospital offers 24-hour support, 7-days a week.
Gold Coast Private Hospital offers 24-hour support, 7-days a week.

Protecting People During COVID-19

Gold Coast Private acting general manager David Seton said the hospital had taken a number of steps to protect patients, staff, doctors and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are conducting patient screening and temperature checks on everyone who presents at our hospital,” he said.

“We’ve also implemented strict social distancing protocols in line with health authority advice.

“We urge anyone who may be putting off seeking medical advice or treatment, please contact your appropriate health professional, and if it’s an immediate concern, Gold Coast Private  Emergency Department  is open, safe, and here for your care.”

Always seek emergency care if you feel something is wrong with your health
Always seek emergency care if you feel something is wrong with your health

If you are unsure whether you need medical attention, contact Gold Coast Private’s Emergency Care Centre on (07) 5530 0800. You can also visit Gold Coast Private Hospital’s website.

Worried that you’ll have to seek emergency care for a fall? Read our article about the fall intervention rehab program at Gold Coast Private Hospital.

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