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January 2020 Health and Welfare Alert

Preventing Falls

5 Top Causes of Falls
Weakness and lack of mobility
Chronic conditions
Home hazards
Impaired vision

Ohio Administrative Code 5123-17-02 requires all developmental disabilities employees to review Health and Welfare Alerts released by the department as part of annual training. View previous alerts on the DODD website.
Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and deaths for Ohioans aged 65 and older, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
For people with disabilities, they are at higher risk for falling at an earlier age, and because of things like vision impairment, muscle weakness, gait and balance difficulties, medication use, or a sedentary lifestyle.
Importantly, falls can be prevented. Direct support professionals are uniquely positioned to actively assess a person with disabilities’ risk for falling, and to support them to get assistance and teach them prevention strategies.
Prevention can start with eliminating hazards at home. Loose carpet, wires, clutter, or poorly lit stairways can contribute to falls. Be mindful of slippery surfaces, such as water on floors or ice outside. Looking at possible home modifications to increase lighting or safety features like handrails can help.
In the long term, exercise can help prevent falls by building a person’s muscle and strength.
Fast Stats
Ohioans with developmental disabilities died from falls in 2019
Ohioans with disabilities were significantly injured
due to a fall in 2018
Medications can also contribute to falling, because medications like sedatives and anti-depressants can reduce a person’s alertness. Some medication can affect balance or cause a drop in blood pressure while a person is standing.
Consult with a person’s pharmacist or physician about the medication someone uses if they are at a higher risk of falling. Carefully monitor for effects and report concerns immediately.

Read full alert at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities Website

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