Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Preventing Falls and Injuries in Older Adults

Every year in the U.S., millions of seniors aged 65 and older experience falls. This is a big problem that affects approximately one out of every three seniors each year. Falls in older adults are responsible for medical costs extending into the tens of billions of dollars and may cause injuries from minor to severe, with two of the most common being hip fractures and traumas to the head. Among seniors, falls are the number one cause of traumatic brain injuries, and most fractures suffered by older adults can be attributed to falls. The most common fractures, in addition to hip fractures, include:

  • Spines
  • Legs and ankles
  • Pelvis
  • Hands, upper arms and forearms

Even if a senior falls but is not actually injured, they may become so paranoid of falling again that they begin limiting their activities, which reduces both their mobility and physical fitness. Ironically, this behavior increases their likelihood of experiencing additional falls.

Who's Most at Risk?
Among seniors, falls remain the leading cause of injuries - both fatal and non-fatal. The number of fall-related deaths in a recent year was calculated at nearly 23,000 among seniors, and these rates have been steadily increasing over the past ten years. Statistically, men are more likely to die from a fall than women, with an increased chance of about 40%; while women are more than twice as likely to suffer a fracture from a fall as men. More than 95% of hip fractures among seniors are attributable to falls and, in a recent year, more than 258,000 hip fractures were reported in the U.S.

Most Falls May be Preventable
A consequence of suffering a fall, as a senior, is that it may signal the beginning of a loss of independence. After experiencing a fall, for those 75 years or older, the likelihood of being confined to a long-term healthcare facility is four to five times greater than those between the ages of 65-74.

Whether you’re a caregiver for older adults or a senior yourself, it’s vital to know how to prevent falls in and outside of the home. Here are some things that can be done to lessen the chance of succumbing to a debilitating fall.

  1. Participate in regular exercise. Tai Chi is a great way to increase leg strength and improve your balance. Even if you currently have limited mobility, you can still benefit from a specialized exercise program.
  2. Ask your medical practitioner to go over the list of medications you take regularly, both prescription and non-prescription. You want your doctor looking at possible harmful drug interactions or for medicines that may be making you feel drowsy or dizzy.
  3. Get an annual eye examination to make sure your eyesight is optimal by checking your current eyeglass prescription. If you wear bifocals, look into getting single-vision lenses for activities like walking.
  4. Your home can be made safer by upgrading the lighting, doing away with obvious trip hazards, installing stair railings on both sides of the stairways and adding grab bars inside and outside of the tub/shower and near the commode.

Take these necessary steps for preventing falls in the elderly, and improve your senior loved one’s quality of life!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Product Spotlight: Invacare Power Lifter RPL450

When you’re setting up a patient-care center or furnishing a loved one’s home with the necessary equipment to receive professional treatment in their own home, don’t settle for lower quality products just because they’ll be used for at-home care. It is possible to get facility-grade equipment at affordable prices, which is evident by examining the many features of the Invacare Reliant 450 patient lift from PHC Online. This professional-grade piece of equipment brings you everything you would expect from a hospital or nursing home and offers it to you for at-home use.
Invacare Reliant 450
Easily Adjustable Base
With the option between two different models, the RPL450-1 and the RPL450-2, the Invacare Power Patient Lift provides you with ultimate flexibility when it comes to adjusting the base legs. The RPL450-1 design incorporates a padded spreader-bar handle, so the base legs can be manually adjusted and securely locked into an open or closed position. The RPL450-2 is slightly more advanced, because it uses a power-operated base to control the position of the base legs. The base legs are motorized, so they can be operated with the easy-to-use hand pendant.
Versatile Sling Selection
The unique 6-point cradle design of the Invacare Power Patient Lift RPL450 gives you the ability to incorporate a variety of different sling types to maximize patients’ comfort and security. Choose from a range of sizes for several slings, such as the fully body mesh, the U-sling mesh, the full body padded and the U-sling padded slings.
Lift Range & Emergency Lowering
To effectively assist lifting and lowering patients to and from the widest variety of heights or positions, the Invacare Reliant 450 has an expansive lift range. The height range allows for lifting all the way from the floor to high surfaces as tall as a countertop or patient table. Plus, you and your patients can feel safe knowing this Invacare device has a manual emergency lowering device that instantly responds to power loss.
Besides the adjustable base legs, the variety of sling options and the great lift range, this Invacare Patient Lift has even more features to offer caretakers and patients alike. Some of these include:
  • Total pinch-point protection covers all moving parts for added safety
  • Safety-tested for highest quality standards
  • Padded swivel bar with 360 degrees rotation
  • Covered base provides protection against wear, dirt and moisture
  • Three year warranty

Affordable and reliable, this Invacare patient lift is designed to provide maximum comfort for the patient and built to give caregivers an effective, easy-to-use tool.