Falls are the number one precipitating factor for a person losing independence and going into, and remaining in, long term care. A first fall can set in motion a downward spiral of fear of falling, leading to decreased activity, loss of strength and a greater risk of further falls, with the frequency of falls increasing with age and frailty level.
A third of people over 65, and half of people over 80, fall at least once a year, with falls the most common cause of death from injury in the over 65s. Falls cost the NHS over £2bn and over 4 million bed days a year, and represent half of all admissions for accidental injury particularly hip fracture with one in three people with a hip fracture dying within a year. Falmouth is currently leading a major research project, in collaboration with Cornwall Care, that is testing a range of technologies that can help prevent falls.
This project is related to the Design for Health and Care research programme.