Falling down is an experience that many of us are able to get back up from, almost immediately. For many others, such as the elderly, this isn’t so easy or anywhere near as quick. People may fall down for any number of reasons, from simple accidents to poor health issues and old age. Fracture of the hip, shoulder or wrist joints or sprains are typical injuries from a fall. Assisting someone from the floor can sometimes be a risk to the handler.
When a person has fallen the handler should always check for the following:
Airway, breathing and circulation.
Check for injuries, possible fractures, pain and behaviour. If handlers are not competent in checking they should always ask for medical assistance.
If there was a reason for the fall.
If there is any doubt that the person should be left safe on the floor, handlers should request medical assistance.
The environment for obstacles and space.
The number of handlers required for the task. If the handler has been trained to undertake the task. Many of these tasks are high risk procedures and should not be undertaken without training.
The employer has a responsibility to ensure the health and safety of their employees. The task of assisting the fallen person should be assessed and procedures implemented to reduce the risk of injury to all employees.
How to assist a fallen person?
The person being verbally instructed should have the physical ability to be able to roll onto their side and be able to kneel. They also should be compliant and be able to follow instructions.
Position a chair at the head end of the fallen person
Ask the person to roll onto their side into side lying
Once on their side, ask the person to bring their arm over their body until the hand is flat on the floor
Prompt the person to push up on their hand and at the same time push up on their forearm that is resting on the floor until they are in half sitting
Prompt the person to keep pushing up until they end up on all fours until they are facing the chair
Ask the person to position lower arms on to the chair and ask them to lean onto the seat of the chair
Ask the person to raise their stronger leg and place the foot flat onto the floor and to push up to straighten legs and turn to sit onto the chair
Technology and Modern-Day Equipment
There are many other purpose-built pieces of equipment you can use to aid a fallen person. These can include electric sling hoists and stretcher frames. Using this equipment may require two individuals to help out. Full instructions will be provided with the equipment, but again, only the most qualified individuals should handle this if possible.
Modern technology and advancements in medical equipment have provided even more methods of helping someone who has fallen. Equipment such as Raizer is helping care-workers all around the world take care of people who are prone to falling. Companies like Mangar Health are also designing and manufacturing inflatable moving and handling equipment, including a self-patient-lifting device range.
Whatever process you use, always ensure the fallen person is comfortable, pain free and familiar with what you are doing.