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What is Fall Prevention?

Fall prevention is a design concept and methodology intended to help individuals, especially elderly persons, avoid possible injury from falling in homes or businesses. This methodology is typically used in interior design with regard to how objects are placed and what types of furniture and other features are used. There are also certain types of safety equipment that can be utilized to enhance this type of design, including hand rails in showers and similar pieces of hardware. Fall prevention can be quite effective, but is seldom perfect, and so other systems are often used to help someone receive help in case of a fall.

While fall prevention is designed to help avoid injury due to falling, it is also intended to help alleviate other risks that can be associated with a person falling in his or her home. If someone falls and is severely injured, such as sustaining a major back injury, then he or she would likely not be able to move to reach a phone and call for help. Someone who has injured his or her lower body, especially an elderly person who can more easily break bones in his or her hips and legs, may similarly not be able to reach a phone. This is why fall prevention can be critically important for someone who lives alone.

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Fall prevention can often begin with choices made regarding furniture selection and placement in a home or place of business. Businesses often want to prevent customers from falling not only because of injury concerns, but also to avoid lawsuits. Chairs and tables should be placed in locations that allow foot traffic through an area without creating tripping hazards, in both a home and a business. Smaller pieces of furniture, like end tables, should be placed out of the way and should be easily visible from around corners and for someone who may have poor vision. It can often be a good idea for someone to augment fall prevention practices by choosing furniture that does not have sharp corners and to use padded furniture whenever possible.

One of the most important places for fall prevention is in an area that may be wet or slippery. This is often done in a place of business through the use of signs to warn customers about slippery areas and by using non-slip surfaces in professional kitchens. In a home, handrails can be installed in showers and near toilets to more easily allow someone to avoid falling in such areas. Though fall prevention can be quite effective, it is not flawless; if someone does fall, then other means can be used to ensure help can be notified. Bracelets or other pieces of jewelry can be worn that allow someone to notify emergency medical professionals in case of a fall, without having to reach a telephone.

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