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Blog – Carpets can help to reduce the severity of fall injuries

People over the age of 65 are more prone to falling, with around a third of people aged 65 and over, and around half of the people aged 80 and over experiencing a fall at least once a year.

Many factors can increase the risk of falling:

  • Acute infections like pneumonia
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid changes in blood pressure and brain function
  • A decline in eyesight and poor hearing
  • Illnesses and physical conditions that affect strength and balance
  • The type and amount of medication being taken.

 

Unfortunately, statistics show that older people living in care homes are three times more likely to fall than older people living within their own homes, with there being 10 times more hip fractures in care homes than any other environment.

Falls are a real threat to independent living and can result in considerable pain, disability, loss of confidence, a general decline in the quality of life and even mortality.

Why carpet?

Falls shouldn’t be seen as an inevitable part of ageing so finding ways of preventing falls, or putting measures in place to reduce the severity of an injury caused by a fall, is the best way forward especially within residential care homes.

Having a flooring solution, which allows for the use of walking aids and is sympathetic to conditions such as Parkinsonian Gait is important, and carpets that have a suitable pile height and incorporate a cushioned backing or underlay have been shown to aid mobility and minimise injuries.

What does the research suggest?

Research conducted by Healey looked at the role of carpeted and vinyl flooring with the injuries older patients received when falling in hospital. A random sample of 225 accident forms were analysed retrospectively and they were then separated into two patient groups. Out of a group of patients falling on carpet only 17% sustained injuries. In the group of patients who fell on vinyl, 46% sustained an injury. Statistical analysis indicated that there was a less than 1% probability that the reduced rate of injury for those patients who fell on carpets was owing to chance.

In addition to the above study, the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association published a report which showed that only 0.7% of falls on Low Impact Flooring (LIF), such as carpet, resulted in a fracture, compared with 2.3% for standard vinyl flooring. According to a further study carried out by the US National Library of Medicine ‘compliant’ flooring—flooring systems or coverings containing some level of shock absorbency—also has the potential to reduce the severity of traumatic brain injuries, hip fractures, and other fall-related injuries.

With over 45 years’ experience of manufacturing and supplying carpets to the Care Sector, Danfloor Uk has created a range of carpets with a pile height and construction which is suitable for use with walking aids and withstands the impact of shuffling. The integral foam backing creates a cushioned landing and with the use of soil and stain resistant yarns, which incorporate an antimicrobial yarn treatment, this collection of carpets has a proven track record within the residential care sector.

Find out more about our Healthcare Carpets

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