Information for Patient Discharge

Information for Patient Discharge

Printable PDF Version

Falls are a serious issue in Tasmania. One in three people aged over 65 years will fall each year.
While most falls do not result in serious injury, they can lead to a loss of confidence and a loss of independence.
Falls are preventable and are not a normal part of getting older.

Before you leave hospital talk to your doctor, nurse or therapy staff about your risk of falling. If you are at increased risk, talk to your doctor about ways you can reduce your risk.

Staying mobile and independent is important for everyone. Many people may not see falling as an important issue because they feel that it is just a ‘sign’ of getting older. Those who see falls as an ‘expected’ part of ageing, may not realise that there are things that can be done to reduce the likelihood of a fall.

There are nine steps to staying on your feet

  1. Be Active
  2. Manage Your Medicines
  3. Manage Your Health
  4. Improve Your Balance
  5. Walk Tall
  6. Foot Care and Safe Footwear
  7. Regularly Check Your Eyesight
  8. Eat Well for Life.
  9. Identify, Remove and Report Hazards

Staying active is an important step to staying on your feet. Falls can happen because of weak muscles and poor balance. Doing exercise that builds balance and leg strength can reduce your risk of falling.

A physiotherapist can show you exercises that can help you Stay On Your Feet®. Rehabilitation exercise programs may also help if you have been inactive for a while. If you are concerned about activities of daily living or your home environment, an occupational therapist can provide you with information. Talk to the hospital staff to see if these are appropriate for you.

Regular physical activity is important and includes things such as walking, gardening, housework, dancing and exercise classes. Tai Chi that is modified for older people can help build strength and balance and reduce your risk of falling.

If you have been inactive for a while talk to your General Practitioner (GP) before you start any new activity. Start slowly and  gradually build up to 30 minutes on most days if you can.

If you have been taking medication in hospital it’s important that you understand your medications and their effects before you leave. Your doctor, or ward pharmacist can provide you with more information about your medications in hospital.

Once you are home talk to your GP or pharmacist about getting your medication reviewed regularly.

Managing health conditions you have is important. Get regular check-ups with your GP and if you feel you aren’t managing your condition well, speak to your health care professional.

Good nutrition and adequate fluid intake, together with suitable exercise, are important to maintain good health and to prevent the risk of falls. Vitamin D and calcium supplements may also be considered for good bone health.

If you do have a fall make sure you discuss it with your GP so that you can take steps to reduce your risk.

For more information visit stayonyourfeet

Information has been adapted from the Australian Council for Safety and Quality in Health Care (2009). ‘Preventing falls and harm from falls in older people. Best practice guidelines for Australian community care, hospitals and residential aged care’.

Stay On Your Feet® is a registered trademark of the Department of Health WA and is used with permission. This pamphlet was developed by the Department of Health WA and adapted by the Department of Health Tasmania.