In Health

New South Wales Ambulance Service

Focus: Falls And Acquired Brain Injury

Victor P Taffa

One in three people over sixty-five years and one in two people over 80 years of age will experience a fall each year. These statistics are alarming because some falls can result in ongoing disability and even an enforced change in living arrangements for older people.

The Ambulance Service of New South Wales responds on average to over 3,000 responses per day, which is equivalent to a call every 28 seconds. Of these calls, Paramedics respond daily to numerous cases of falls, many of which are preventable.

“A bad fall can result in broken bones, sprains, strains and head injuries. But almost as worrying is the resulting loss of confidence and quality of life that may occur and in more serious circumstances a brain injury”.

A brain injury could occur from the following circumstances:

  • A fall in and around the home
  • Pedestrian hit by car.
  • Fall from Bike and not wearing a helmet.
  • Motor Vehicle Crash.
  • Fall from a ladder, roof or bunk bed.
  • Industrial accident on a farm or workplace.
  • Extensive Alcoholism.

Ambulance would like to offer the following advice to alert the community on how to avoid receiving a serious head injury.

  •  When operating machinery or riding your push bike, motor bike or quad bike, always wear a helmet.
  •  If you are working from a height ensure you utilise the appropriate safety equipment and have someone around to ensure your safety.
  • When crossing the road, look both ways for traffic and use designated pedestrian crossings and obey all traffic signals. Hold your child’s hand when waiting to cross roads.
  • Drive to the conditions – remember, the speed limit is the maximum speed in good conditions. In adverse conditions SLOW DOWN.
  • Look after your mates and NEVER leave an intoxicated or drug affected mate on their own and leave the car at home if you are planning on drinking alcohol.
  • Secure all scattered rugs or mats in common walking spaces around the home.
  • Clean up spills as they occur and do not leave floors wet and slippery.
  • In the bathroom, using a non-slip mat in the bath or shower, install handrails and use a bath seat for extra safety, if appropriate.

In the event of a medical emergency dial Triple Zero (000), ask for Ambulance and remain on the line whilst details of the emergency are obtained and an Ambulance is despatched.

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