Cost of falls rises to £7m

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FALLS related hospital admissions for people over 65 in Derbyshire cost the NHS around £7 million a year.

And now older people at risk of suffering broken bones or a loss of mobility and confidence after a fall are being urged to watch their step by NHS Derbyshire County.

Figures released by the trust to coincide with this week’s National Falls Awareness Week show that last year 38,452 people aged 65 or over fell in Derbyshire.

Older people who accidentally trip can suffer a range of injuries from broken wrists, ankles or hips to a loss of confidence, mobility and independence. And tragically, many of them lose their lives.

Falls in people aged 65 or over are also responsible for a high volume of non-life threatening emergency ambulance calls, with the East Midlands Ambulance Service receiving 7,681 of these types of calls between April 2009 and 2010 from people living in Derbyshire.

In Derbyshire alone falls-related hospital admissions for people aged 65 cost the NHS around £7m, fractured hips £5m and £1.5m in ambulance costs.

Now experts at NHS Derbyshire say that by taking a few simple measures older people can help to protect themselves from the potentially devastating consequence of a fall.

Helen O’Higgins, falls prevention commissioning manger for NHS Derbyshire said: “There are simple measures that everyone can take to prevent falls such as having regular eye tests to check for sight problems, keeping glasses clean, cutting down on potentially hazardous clutter, drinking water to stay hydrated and prevent dizziness, and keeping active to improve balance and strength.

“If you’re taking four or more tablets a day, then it’s also best to check with your GP or pharmacist regularly as some types of medication do increase the risk of falling.”

National Falls Awareness Week is being run by Age UK.

Further information can be found at www.ageuk.org.uk/health-wellbeing/national-falls-awareness-week/.