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23 June 2010

Preventing falls in elderly people

Around 100 GPs, podiatrists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and nurses will be descending on Robert Gordon University today [June 23] for a conference aimed at raising awareness of best practice about falls among professionals.
Organised by Aberdeenshire Community Health Partnership as part of falls awareness week, the delegates will hear from leading professionals in the field.
Shona Strachan is Falls Lead for the CHP. She said: "More than 30 per cent of the over 65 population fall each year and this increases to 50 per cent of people over 85. This key event will add to the extensive multi-agency activity which promotes falls prevention - this includes education, exercise and diet - and support those who experience falls.
"The event has several eminent speakers who will bring together the most up to date practice at a national level and we are delighted that such a wide range of staff are attending.
"We're also pleased that so many nursing home and local authority staff will be there as rates in the care home sector rise to 83 per cent of residents recording a fall in one year, our most vulnerable and frail elderly people."
Mrs Margaret Thain, 79, from Inverurie fell at a social event and required a half hip replacement. She was treated in Aberdeen then Inverurie by a range of professionals before discharge. Since completing a health rehabilitation programme Mrs Thain has been attending a local exercise class specialising in maintaining and improving the abilities of those who have fallen. She strongly supports this type of event: "It's very important that professionals are aware of best practice and share experiences. There is a lot of good work going on in helping to prevent falls, and these sorts of events are important if local services are to benefit from best practice."
Falls prevention and bone health is a major concern to the NHS as the population gets older. A single fall resulting in a broken hip typically costs the NHS and social care between 12,000 and 15,000 when theatre costs, hospital stay costs and resulting additional support post discharge are taken into account.