You must consider your own safety as lifting someone who is unable to cooperate may result in injuring yourself. There is a right and a wrong way to assist someone who has fallen. If there is any doubt about the severity of possible injuries call emergency services immediately for assistance.
Comfort the Injured Person
If one falls and hits their head they will likely become confused and disorientated. A fall is extremely traumatizing and if an injury has occurred the person may experience pain when attempting to get up or move to another position. Simple movements could result in further injury. When someone has fallen first comfort them and then take time to assess the situation. This decreases the chance of paralyzing injury. Reassure them you are going to get the appropriate help. Use positive language and avoid drawing attention to any serious injuries to keep them calm and not panic.
Assess the Situation
Assess the situation to determine the best course of action. Ask about pain and look for visible signs of injury. If they tell you there is no feeling in limbs or their neck is sore you may be dealing with a serious injury. Contact emergency services immediately and provide as much information as possible. If a limb is injured do not lift without first using protection to prevent further damage. Never overextend a limb if there is a suspected fracture or break as this may result in a compound fracture or damage to internal muscles or tendons. Instead keep the fallen person comfortable while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
Lifting Someone with Minor Injuries
If injuries are minor do not exacerbate the situation. Your role is to support and get the person back on their feet. Bend at the knees and slowly help them upright. A sturdy chair provides extra support to sit once they are fully vertical. When settled and secure ask again if there is any pain or discomfort. Discomfort may not be felt until positions are changed. Always contact the physician to inform them of the event and determine if further action is needed.
After the Fall
In the hours after the fall it is essential the person falling is not left alone. If complaints of numbness, sleepiness or nausea persist contact emergency services and advise the person not to move. Keep them awake until emergency services arrive. Remain calm. Continue to comfort and reassure them help is on the way. Keep the emergency service operator informed of any changes to receive timely instructions. Discuss other daily topics to reduce the stress of the situation.
If a medical diagnosis is conducive to falling conduct a home safety assessment. Further falls may be prevented by removing potential tripping hazards and obstacles. Smooth surface floors present a falling hazard. Consider making modifications to the home to provide your family member extra support. Replace steps with accessible ramps or install handrails throughout the home as well as stair lifts to assist in reaching upper floors. Be Proactive and have a safer quality of life. Life is better when upright.
If you or a loved one are consistently falling or tripping over items, it may be time to think about moving into a Senior Living Retirement Community. Having caring neighbors and watchful staff will lessen the chances of another fall. Bridge to Better Living® is here to help. Contact us today for a free consultation and let us help you transition into the next phase. Review our services here.