How to Help Someone Who Has Fallen

This article is featured in the December issue of the Panorama News. Although it was written specifically for our campus, the information is important for all to know.

Written by Panorama Health Services Director, Marla LeFevre. 
Introduction by Panorama resident, Judy Murphy.

Falls are a common occurrence among people of all ages, but they can lead to serious consequences, particularly among older folks. Many people are embarrassed that they have fallen and immediately try to get up, which is not the wisest thing to do.  We may think we are still 20, but our aging bodies do not respond to a fall like a 20-year-old would.  In addition to potential physical injury, a fall can sometimes cause dizziness or confusion. 

If you see someone who has fallen or are with someone who falls, you may wonder what the best course of action is.  Here are some brief guidelines to help you help someone else.      – Judy Murphy

*Call 911 immediately and then the Urgent Response Aide (using a SARA pendant, pull-cord, telephone off-hook, or dialing 413-6000).

*Stay with the person who has fallen (the patient)

*Ensure that the patient is in a safe place (divert traffic, etc.)

*Do not move the patient unless their life is at risk in the current location (i.e. burning car, building collapse)

*Do not assume there is no injury even if the patient states they are fine; many patients don’t realize they are hurt until after they have tried to get up

*If a person is bleeding profusely, apply pressure to the wound with a clean item (if a First Aid kit is not available, clean clothing is ok to use) until the Urgent Response Aide or fire department arrives

*The fire department crew is trained to do a full assessment to determine injuries and can stabilize wounds/injuries until full medical care is received (such as transporting to a hospital)

*All head injuries should be evaluated at a hospital

 

There have been questions in the past about the role of Panorama’s Urgent Response Aides (URAs) when a person has fallen. URAs are Nursing Assistants who are certified in First Aid/CPR/AED, but they are not qualified to make comprehensive injury assessments, which is why 911 is always called.  The URA carries a cell phone and will call 911 if nobody else has called.

 

Urgent Response Aides will not lift a person up, because this may cause further injury to the patient and may also cause injury to the URA. Fire dept crews have sufficient staff numbers to lift an uninjured person safely.

 

The URA can assist with basic first aid, supporting/reassuring the patient and their loved ones, crowd control, obtaining medical history, gathering items needed if a patient is transported to a hospital, notifying emergency contacts and primary healthcare providers, and tidying up/locking up the home. The URA will call the resident the day after an incident, to see if any further assistance is needed.

 

Please contact the URA Supervisor Tim Templet at 7561 or Independent Living Services Coordinator Marla LeFevre at 7564 if you have any questions about emergency care.    – Marla LeFevre, Health Services Director

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