Information for the public
Reducing your risk of falling
Your healthcare professional should talk with you about whether you would benefit from having a plan for reducing the likelihood of you falling if:
the falls risk assessment shows that you are at risk of having a fall or
you have already had more than one fall.
The plan should be worked out with you to help you meet your goals. For example, it may include:
help with fixing any problems in your home that may make you more likely to fall (see Being safe at home)
exercises to improve your strength and balance (see Exercise)
having your eyesight checked (and being referred for more tests if needed)
looking at whether any of your medicines should be changed (see Stopping certain medicines).
For some of this, you may be referred to different healthcare professionals for specialist help and advice.
If you have been injured because of a fall, you should be offered an assessment of your risk of having another fall. You should also be offered personalised help to reduce the risk of you falling again. The aim of this is to help you to keep your independence as far as possible and to improve your movement and confidence.
You may be offered a 'home hazard assessment' if you have an increased risk of falling or have had several falls.
You should be offered a home hazard assessment if you have been in hospital for treatment because of a fall. The assessment will usually be organised when you are getting ready to leave hospital, and should be carried out at a time that has been agreed with you in advance.
The home hazard assessment should be carried out by a suitably trained healthcare professional, who will visit your home and check for anything that might put you in particular danger of having a fall. If they think that making changes in your home (for example, changing the layout of your furniture) or having special equipment might help you to avoid a fall, you should be offered this.
Special exercises (sometimes called 'strength and balance training') can help to build up muscle strength and improve balance. These can make a person steadier on their feet and less likely to fall. They can be particularly helpful for older people who have already had one or more falls, or who have problems with balance or walking. If you are offered these exercises, they should be designed especially for you. A suitably trained healthcare professional should get you started with the exercises and check how you are getting on with them.
Certain medicines can make a fall more likely. If you take one or more of these medicines, your doctor should talk with you about how much they help you and whether you could stop taking them.
The medical condition known as cardioinhibitory carotid sinus hypersensitivity can cause dizziness and fainting. If you have this condition and have had some falls, but you don't remember why you fell, your specialist should think about whether a pacemaker might help you. A pacemaker is a small battery-powered device that is implanted under the skin and helps to keep your heart beating regularly.