UT Medical offers tips to prevent falls during Fall Prevention Awareness Week

Every 11 seconds nationwide, an older person goes to the emergency room for a fall related injury.
Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 9:08 AM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Every 11 seconds nationwide, an older person goes to the emergency room for a fall related injury. Officials with the University of Tennessee Medical Center said falls are the leading cause of deadly and non-deadly injuries. Injury prevention coordinator with UT Medical, Debi Tuggle, said falling can turn into a recurring thing.

“Any fall poses great risk for broken bones, head injuries and life changing events that you may never get back to your normal,” Tuggle said.

According to UT Medical’s trauma report, 47% of traumatic injuries came from falls. The most common type of injury for people 0-45 is vehicle crashes. That changes to falls for people 46+. There are prevention measures people can take to prevent themselves from falling.

UT Medical experts recommend improving balance and strength with exercises, getting a vision check, buying items to help keep your home safe and talking with your health care provider.

“Your doctor and your pharmacist needs to review all of your medications particularly if you are on four or more medications, it can really increase your risk for a fall,” Tuggle said. “There’s a lot of side effects from medications that can lead to a fall. Drowsiness, dizziness, dehydration; any of those things can contribute to a fall.”

Doctors recommend buying railings on both sides of your stairs. You can also buy extra lights to make sure your home is well-lit.

Tuggle said this advice isn’t just for those at risk, but their families.

“This is a global problem and not just a problem for older persons, it’s a problem for everyone,” Tuggle said.

National Fall Prevention Awareness week goes until Sept. 23. Tuggle will be a part of a webinar Wednesday to discuss pet-related fall prevention. The Knox County Health Department is also hosting a fall prevention class.