As the weather turns colder and leaves begin to change, it’s important to remember that falls are a common occurrence for people of all ages. Whether it’s due to icy sidewalks or slippery floors, falls can result in serious injuries and even hospitalizations.
But what happens after a fall? How do you recover from such an event? In this guide, we will walk you through a step-by-step post-fall protocol to ensure you have a safe and successful recovery. Let’s get started!
Consider Legal Support
If you’ve been injured in a slip-and-fall accident due to someone else’s negligence or an unsafe environment, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault or how much you’re owed — in this case, you want to speak to a slip and fall accident lawyer to evaluate your case. Maybe you’ve suffered from a broken bone, head injury, or any other physical harm resulting from the accident, but a lawyer can work with you to obtain the compensation you deserve. Don’t hesitate to seek legal support and protect your rights.
Assess for Injuries
Accidents can happen unexpectedly and can leave you feeling disoriented, shaken up, and in pain. It’s important to take a moment to assess your injuries before jumping up and possibly making things worse.
If you’re feeling discomfort or any kind of pain, you must get assistance before moving. Trying to handle things on your own can be risky and can lead to further injuries. As difficult as it may be to wait, taking the time to evaluate your injury status can save you from experiencing more pain and even longer recovery times.
Seeking immediate assistance after a fall is paramount to ensure that injuries are promptly and properly addressed. Whether you seek help from a passerby, call a friend, or use an emergency alert system, you must communicate your need for aid as smoothly and quickly as possible. In public spaces, look for security personnel or staff members who are trained for such situations. If the fall occurs at home and you’re alone, it’s advisable to have a phone within reach to call 911 or a local emergency number, depending on the gravity of the situation.
Even if the injuries seem minor, underlying issues, such as concussions or internal bleeding, may not be immediately apparent. Healthcare professionals can perform a thorough evaluation to detect and treat any injuries that may have occurred, ensuring the best possible outcome for your health and recovery.
If you’ve ascertained that you’re able to move without doing further harm, the next step is to slowly and safely rise. Start by wriggling your fingers and toes to ensure proper mobility, and then, if possible, turn over to a prone position. Cautiously prop yourself up onto your elbows or hands, take deep breaths, and pause if you feel any pain or dizziness.
Next, locate a stable object you can use for support, such as a chair or a sturdy railing. Carefully pull yourself into a kneeling position and place one foot on the floor, using the stable object to aid in pushing yourself up. Remember to rise slowly to avoid sudden movements that could lead to another fall. If at any point you are unsure of your ability to rise without assistance, remain still and wait for help to arrive.
Notify Your Healthcare Provider
After ensuring that you can move without causing additional harm and obtaining assistance, notify your healthcare provider, even if your injuries appear minor. Contacting a medical professional is a significant step in the post-fall protocol as they can offer a thorough examination to uncover any less obvious injuries such as soft-tissue damage or concussion symptoms that may manifest later.
Sharing a detailed account of your fall with your healthcare provider, including how you fell, the surface you landed on, and how you felt immediately after and in the hours following the incident, provides critical information for your assessment. They can also advise you on appropriate measures to take for your specific injuries and recommend any necessary follow-up appointments.
Rest and Recovery
The importance of adequate rest following a fall cannot be overstated as it is a critical component of the recovery process. Your body needs time to heal and recuperate from the trauma it has endured. During this phase, it’s important to follow any prescribed treatment plans, which may include rest, ice, compression, and elevation of injured areas (the R.I.C.E. method), and to take any medication as directed by your healthcare provider.
You may even need to modify your daily activities to avoid straining the injured area. Know that resting and allowing your body to recover is not a sign of weakness, but rather a necessary step towards a successful recovery.
Implement Preventive Measures
Falls are a serious concern for people of all ages, but they can be particularly dangerous for older adults. If you or a loved one has experienced a fall, take steps to prevent future accidents. This can be as simple as removing tripping hazards like loose rugs or clutter on the floor, improving the lighting in your home to reduce the risk of stumbling, or installing handrails in critical areas such as stairwells or bathrooms.
These preventive measures can create a safer living environment and reduce the likelihood of future falls. Maintaining a safe and healthy home is an important part of aging in place, and a little bit of effort can go a long way toward preventing accidents and injuries.
Certain medications can make us feel dizzy, lightheaded, or unsteady on our feet, which can increase the risk of falls and other injuries. Review your medications with your healthcare provider after a fall and discuss any potential side effects that could affect your balance or coordination.
If you’re taking multiple medications, it may be helpful to ask for a medication review to ensure they are all necessary and not interacting in a way that could increase the risk of falls. Your healthcare provider may also suggest alternatives or modifications to your medication regimen to reduce the risk of future incidents.
Recovering from a fall can be a challenging process, but by following the proper post-fall protocol outlined in this guide, individuals can ensure a safer and more efficient path to recovery. Legal support, injury assessment, and professional healthcare assistance are foundational steps in addressing the immediate aftermath of an accident.
Proceeding cautiously in rising, resting adequately, and reviewing your living environment and medications are proactive measures that foster a conducive recovery environment and mitigate future risks.