What to Do After a Fall
Patients often want to get up from the floor immediately after a fall. This desire may be due to the embarrassment of falling or their concern about their ability to get up. Sometimes patients do not think about the fact that after they have fallen, they cannot fall any farther and should be in no hurry to get up. Bystanders occasionally offer a helping hand, but their help may cause greater destabilization or irritate an already arthritic joint. Educating the patient about how to guide bystanders will help minimize these problems. Here are some general guidelines about what to tell your patient:
1. Do not try to get up right away.
2. Before attempting to get up, mentally note whether any areas feel injured. If you suspect injury, seek medical attention.
3. Attempt to relax for a moment before getting up.
4. If you are in your “off” medication state and are not very mobile, wait until medications are working before getting up. If you are not alone, someone can make you comfortable in the meantime with a pillow or other soft item.
5. Before attempting to get up, someone should bring a chair close to you if needed so that you can use it for support to get up.
6. An additional chair could be placed behind you if you have difficulty turning. After you are standing, you can sit on the chair without having to turn.
Appendix D contains the handout “What to Do After a Fall” that you may photocopy for your patients. Items 1, 2, and 3 are applicable to all patients. Items 4, 5, and 6 are for patients with individual needs or greater mobility problems. When you give the list to a patient, cross out any items do not apply to that person.
This is an excerpt from Health Professionals’ Guide to Physical Management of Parkinson’s Disease.