According to studies, urinary and fecal incontinence are one of the major causes of falls among elderly people. Incontinence sufferers do not possess the ability to control the bladder or bowel motion. Hence, they experience involuntary urine leakage or excretion of stools, which make them more prone to experiencing a fall.
One of the most common types of incontinence that may lead to experiencing a fall is urge incontinence, since a person suffering this condition rushes to the bathroom to avoid any unpleasant episodes. They may end up in an accident that can leave them with a broken body part or a more serious injury.
It is important to mention that incontinence is not considered a disease, but rather a symptom of underlying health problems such as urinary tract infections, constipation, the use of certain medicines, obesity, among others. This is the reason why caregivers must be aware that incontinence might be experienced along with dizziness, somnolence, low blood pressure, all of which can certainly cause a fall.
Patients who constantly take medications to manage incontinence such as anticholinergics and alpha-adrenergic antagonists are at great risk of falling. Those who excessively urinate at night are also prone to falling since they do not get the recommended amount of sleep at night and being tired may take its toll on them.
Other contributors to experiencing a fall when a person suffers from incontinence are the following: limited adroitness, motion and equilibrium, impairment, and dependency on mobility equipment.
There are methods to implement for preventing a possible fall due to incontinence:
One of the most important things to do at first is to isolate the cause of incontinence and provide the correct treatment. It is very common for elderly people to suffer from more than one kind of incontinence. Therefore, caregivers and doctors should provide the right attention to eliminate possible grounds for incontinence.
Most elderly people need help to get to the bathroom. Therefore, caregivers ought to pay special attention when patients or loved ones call them for help. Make sure there is a quick response in these situations and the right assistance is provided.
If possible, make use of bath aid products to make the visits to the bathroom easier and more bearable. Make sure that slip-resistant footwear and the optimal type of clothing are worn, such as pants with Velcro fasteners and cut-away dresses. Clothing should be easy to remove and this will also aid in preventing incontinence falls.
Always remember not to block areas through which the person suffering from incontinence will pass. These areas should always be free of obstacles and have enough light to avoid slips/falls. Having a slip-resistant mat is also a very good idea, especially when moving the patient or your loved one to and from the bed.