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Stop that fall – don’t let your feet trip you up

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Foot care and safe footwear are the focus of this year’s MidCentral District Health Board’s April No Falls campaign in April.

Foot problems, ill-fitting shoes, or shoes with poor grip may upset people’s balance and change the way they walk, which could put them at risk of falling. MDHB says “stop that fall - don’t let your feet trip you up”.

MDHB is encouraging people to take action and stay mobile and independent. It says a fall can be life-changing for an older person, impacting on their independence and wellbeing, with implications for their family and others. Staying mobile and independent is an important part of healthy aging.

MDHB assesses people for being at-risk of falls, by asking three questions. If people answer ‘yes’ to any one of these questions they are at-risk of falls and need to talk with a health professional:
1           Have you had a fall in the past 12 months?
2          Are you on four or more medications?
3          Do you have a fear of falling?

MDHB says the good news is that most falls can be prevented by the following simple and effective measures:
• Be active, improve your balance, walk tall
• Have your eyesight checked regularly
• Get your medicines reviewed regularly
• Manage your health and nutrition
• Keep your home clutter-free, and well lit
• Discuss bone strengthening medication with your GP, and
• Foot care and safe footwear
As part of April No Falls Day (1 April), MDHB is hosting a falls prevention evening symposium at the Convention Centre in Palmerston North for all healthcare workers working with older people.

Topics include: frailty and falls; medication and falls; podiatry – what is offered; An exciting new falls prevention programme across the hospital and community; Health Safety Quality Commission focus and free education for providers and carers; and activity and exercise.
It is also highlighting the importance of good, sturdy footwear and foot care in preventing falls in a ‘Let’s Talk About Health’ newspaper column during the campaign.

The messages and strategies of falls prevention will be promoted throughout the MDHB region including local community hospitals, aged care facilities and primary care teams.

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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