North West Ambulance service urges people to ensure homes are free from clutter to reduce risk of falls this winter

Wigan residents are being warned of an increased risk of falling due to clutter in the home.
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This comes following over 100,000 emergency calls relating to falls last year, with the figure increasing during the winter period.

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) responded to 60 per cent more falls-related calls across the North West from December 2021 to February 2022 compared with autumn of that year.

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In Greater Manchester alone, NWAS received 39,542 falls-related calls in 2022 – handling 94 per cent more calls in January compared to September.

Community Specialist Paramedic Sara Harris with member of the publicCommunity Specialist Paramedic Sara Harris with member of the public
Community Specialist Paramedic Sara Harris with member of the public
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Most of us will experience a fall at some point, and likely be nothing more than a bit embarrassing for many. However, a fall can be startling, upsetting and life-changing for some, especially as we get older.

A total of 78 per cent of falls-related calls to NWAS in 2022 were for patients aged 65 and older, with this age group more likely to require hospital treatment than younger patients.

Multiple reasons contribute to why people may experience a fall, such as personal risk factors including weak muscles, sensory issues, poor balance and walking difficulties. In addition chronic medical conditions, medication side effects, delirium and fall hazards around the home.

Clutter in a houseClutter in a house
Clutter in a house
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Community Specialist Paramedic Sara Harris said: “At home, we tend to move around without thinking about our safety as it is where we are comfortable and where we spend much of our time. Falls prevention in and around the home may seem like common sense, however, it isn’t always easy to recognise the things that can cause trips, slips and falls.

“In my role, I have seen clutter, poor lighting, uneven surfaces and slippery floors as being some of the main causes of falls that could have been avoided.

“Making a few small changes at home will make it easier to get around and carry out daily activities. An important first step toward preventing falls at home is to remove anything that could cause trips or slips while walking around.”

Steps that can be taken to decrease the risk of falls around the home inlcude clearing clutter from floors and stairs, arranging furniture to give more room, removing loose mats and rugs and improving lighting. These changes may also make it easier to get around your home and carry out daily activities.

It can be helpful to have someone else, such as a friend, relative or neighbour you trust to have a look with you to see if there is anything that could be made safer.

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