Falls may be an "inevitable part of ageing," says Professor Paddy Phillips, South Australia's chief medical officer, but there are ways to reduce the chances of personal injury.
"In 2012 more than 9,000 older South Australians were admitted to public hospitals due to falls and it is estimated a further 9,000 are treated in the emergency department and discharged home," claimed Professor Phillips in a statement released earlier this month (April 4).
This is not an issue that is restricted to South Australia. A report released on April 4 demonstrates that older people across the country are frequently being hospitalised for falls.
Titled "Hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia", this report is the sixth in a series funded by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare on the subject.
It reveals that in 2009-10 a staggering 83,800 Australians aged 65 and over were hospitalised because of fall-related injuries. This was up 5,100 on the previous year.
Other key findings were that approximately 70 per cent of all falls "happened in either the home or an aged care facility", and that the average number of days fall victims were required to stay in hospital for treatment and recovery was 15.5.
If you are aged 65 or over, or have a family member who is, having a private health insurance policy that covers hospital accommodation could provide the advantage of being able to attend the hospital of your choice. The convenience of being in a local hospital to convalesce can provide peace of mind for partners, relative and friends.
South Australians are doing their bit to curb this disturbing trend. A new preventative program is currently being trialled there, which screens people who frequent hospital emergency rooms and determines how likely they are to hurt themselves as a result of falling.
Those that are deemed at risk will be encouraged to seek assistance and advice from specialised "fall prevention" services in their communities.
Following a successful first attempt at Flinders Medical Centre, which saw repeat fall presentations in those screened reduced by 78 per cent, the trial is now underway in multiple other locations.
The South Australian government has also launched a website, Falls Prevention in SA, which has a whole heap of useful information about preventing and managing this growing concern for our older citizens.
If you want to know more about how a health insurance plan could help your elderly family members get the medical attention and treatments they need, contact HICA today.
We can offer you a health insurance comparison and will do everything we can to get you the plan that best suits your needs.