Archive for May 20th, 2009

Preventing Dizzy Patients from Falling

The Mayo Clinic Vestibular/Balance Center published a great list of  “Safety Tips to Prevent Falling”*, which will be helpful for patients dealing with dizzy and balance disorders.

  • Remove all throw rugs and make sure all electrical and phone cords are tucked out of the way.
  • In rooms that have wall-to-wall carpeting, make sure that the carpet is secured to the floor and there are no wrinkles or raised areas.
  • Install safety rails for the toilet that are attached with the same bolts that hold the seat in place. Also, installing a raised toilet seat will make getting up from the toilet easier.
  • Install safety grab bars on the bathtub and on the bathtub wall and shower wall. Do not use towel bars or soap dishes. They are not anchored well enough and may pull off the wall.
  • Place a nonskid pad or strips in the bottom of the bathtub.
  • Use a shower chair to sit in the shower or a bath bench to sit in the bathtub, instead of standing in the shower or sitting on the bottom of the tub.
  • Purchase a kit that can be installed in place of a standard showerhead, to convert it to a handheld showerhead.
  • Sit when shaving, brushing teeth, fixing hair, or putting on makeup. Use a tabletop mirror or install an extra long mirror over the sink so it can be used while standing or sitting.
  • Use caution when walking from one surface to another, such as from the carpeted hall to the tile floor in the bathroom.
  • When moving from a lying down to a standing position, sit up first and stay there a minute or two. Rise slowly and stand still for a few seconds before trying to walk.
  • Arrange items in kitchen cupboards so that frequently used items are within easy reach.
  • A countertop toaster oven may be safer than leaning over and trying to reach into a regular oven.
  • Make sure that all stairs are well lit and free of clutter.
  • If it is difficult to see the edge of the stairs, apply brightly colored tape to the edge, or paint the edge a bright color.
  • Always use the railings when going up or down stairs. It is best to have railings on both sides of the stairs. If there is no railing, at least place hands on the wall while going up or down the stairs.
  • Use night lights in your bedroom
  • Place a light near the bedside for getting up during the night.
  • Try to sit on furniture that is firm, high, and has armrests to assist when standing.
  • Consider purchasing a cordless phone so that it is not necessary to get up from your seat to answer the phone.
  • Consider an emergency response system. These are available at minimal cost through many local hospitals and medical centers.