Prevention is key during April Falls month

26 April 2016

This month Taranaki DHB, New Plymouth Injury Safe and ACC are promoting strength and balance exercises to help reduce the risk of falls as part of the national ‘Stand up to Falls’ campaign.

Gail Geange, Taranaki DHB Associate Director of Nursing said, “A fall can have a devastating impact on elderly people and their loved ones, and can reduce their ability to remain independent. In 2013, 410 people aged over 50 were hospitalised in Taranaki and a total of 18,500 across New Zealand, as a result of a fall. Many falls are preventable and we are very focused on reducing that number.”

From July 2014 to July 2015, 7,703 people in Taranaki aged 50 and over had a claim paid by ACC for an injury or illness related to a fall; an average of 21 claims per day in just Taranaki alone. This was an increase from 2013/14, when 822 fewer people had a claim for an injury related to a fall.

Nearly half of all injuries in the home are caused by slips, trips and falls, with 17,000 accidents in New Zealand happening per year in bathrooms and areas where there is water or a slippery surface.

Falls can be prevented by regular strength training exercises which increase muscle strength, core balance and gait, even in frail older people.

“If you are over 50, ask your doctor what strength training exercises are right for you, they may give you a prescription for exercise or a ‘green prescription’. The green prescription programme is delivered around the region by Sport Taranaki.”

“Younger people can also benefit from strength training exercises. If you keep your muscles and bones in good condition, you are less likely to fall and injure yourself when you are older,” added Mrs Geange.

Taranaki DHB is supporting April Falls month this week with a number of initiatives including information stands, physical challenges and a staff quiz to raise awareness about falls prevention. Information packs have also been distributed to aged-care facilities in the region.

Reducing harm from falls is the fifth focus for the Open for Better Care national patient safety campaign led by the Health Quality & Safety Commission.


For more information please call
Greer Lean
Communications Advisor
027 801 9084





Last updated: Tuesday, April 26, 2016

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