Lockdowns increasing the likelihood of falls in older Australians
From the Australian Physiotherapy Association
Older Australians are at risk of life-threatening falls and other serious health impacts after months of COVID-19 confinement and loss of mobility, says the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA).
In its submission to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality Investigation into the Impact of COVID-19 on Aged Care, APA physiotherapists reported an increase of up to 30 per cent in the number of falls leading to hospitalisation, as well as increased occurrence of pressure sores.
The APA’s submission included case studies in which residents’ movements and quality of life were significantly restricted, including:
eating meals in their rooms which removed important incremental exercise and social opportunities (walking to the dining room three times a day)
not being able to leave their rooms at all
being denied access to other areas of the facilities normally available to them
cancellation of group exercise classes
quarantined in rooms after returning from external medical appointments and hospital visits
regular health treatments, such as physiotherapy, denied during quarantine periods
receiving less one-on-one support from care staff who were diverted to infection control
loss of visitations from family and friends due to facility lockdowns.
“While obviously important, increased infection control measures and cleaning regimes have led to an acceleration in the physical, mental and emotional decline of many residents. There needs to be equal priority given to the primary healthcare needs of these residents to ensure they maintain a level of independence,” said APA National President Phil Calvert.
“Sadly, the removal of normal activities over a period of several months has had a significant impact on the physical and mental health of older Australians. We are already seeing increased pressure sores and falls."
Do you feel your lack of movement due to lockdowns has diminished your balance, putting you at incrteased risk of falls?