Summer can be a perilous time of year for the elderly and disabled; falling is more of an issue as we age. Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury for Queenslanders aged 65 years and over and the cost of falls and falls injury is significant. Older people are at greatest risk of sustaining an injury from a fall. At least one in four older people have a fall each year. Over 40 % have multiple falls and over 30 % of those who fall require medical attention as a result. The rate of falls is even higher for older people living in residential care1.
In Australia in 2010-11, there were 92,150 people aged over 65 hospitalised for fall-related injuries, and they were in the hospital on average seven days2.
Many of our elderly prefer to remain independent, continuing to live at home, but know they risk severe injury if they slip or fall while alone. According to Stay on your Feet statistics, one in four older people aged 65 or older will fall at least once this year.
Our monitoring data highlights that there is a dramatic increase in call-outs to falls during the summer months.
St John Ambulance (Qld) General Manager of Community and Volunteer Services, Julie Norquay, says falls are the most common reason for a call-out, with a very marked increase during summer.
“Summer is a busy time, with the hot and humid weather making conditions especially difficult. We receive more calls during this time than any other time of the year.”
“We find the majority of our call-outs are for clients that have slipped or fallen over and cannot get up. As the alarm can be worn on the body, it is easy to activate in an emergency by pressing the button, even when the wearer has fallen."
Mrs Norquay says the system allows the elderly and disabled to live independently, knowing help is close at hand should it be needed. It’s an excellent option for those who want peace of mind and a real sense of security as they go about their everyday tasks.
The St John Ambulance medical alarm is connected to St John Ambulance’s security monitoring centre, where trained operators are ready 24 hours a day. Once the alarm is activated, St John calls you back and can talk to you through the alarm speaker to check if you are okay. If you are OK, St John can send assistance from nominated family, friends or carers. If there is no answer, St John immediately organises an ambulance to be sent.
“When the medical alarm is activated, the call comes straight to St John Ambulance. Having a St John medical alarm offers our clients, and their families peace of mind at all times, no matter what activity they might be doing,” said Mrs Norquay.
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1 https://www.health.qld.gov.au/stayonyourfeet/facts/statistics (accessed 25 October 2017)
2 https://australianageingagenda.com.au/2014/03/25/call-action-falls-prevention/ (accessed 25 October 2017)
About St John Ambulance
St John Ambulance Australia is a self-funded charitable organisation with one dedicated purpose; to prevent and relieve sickness and injury from accidents, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of all people. How does St John Ambulance do this? By providing quality first aid products, services and training for our communities.
Paula Price, General Manager Marketing and Business Services
St John Ambulance Australia Queensland Limited
T: 0417 785 228