A home OT assessment is performed to address Mrs Scott’s problem with falling whilst trying to make it to the toilet. She reports that she most often falls at night when she wakes up and has to get to the toilet in a hurry. On assessment the OT notices that there are no bedside lamps that can easily be switched on in the night and neither is there low level hallway lighting. The OT therefore recommends touch lamps that can easily be accessed and operated before getting out of bed so that Mrs Scott can easily see where she is going. Night lights should also be installed in the hallway.
The lamp shades in the living areas provide adequate light, with open shades and 80 watt globes and all apartments in the retirement village are fitted with motion sensor outdoor lights that turn on automatically so that the entryway is well lit when Mr and Mrs Scott return home in the evening.
There were a couple of mats in the hallway and lounge room that were considered tripping hazards and it was recommended that these be removed or taped down. Non-slip surfaces were laid in the toilet, bathroom, laundry and kitchen areas and recommendations were made for grab bars in the bathroom and toilet frame.
The Scott’s live in a single story ground floor apartment with no steps or stairs, so these are not an issue for falls risk.
It is likely that Mrs Scott’s orthostatic hypotension with a 35mmHg Systolic drop is a contributory factor in her night time falls. It is likely that this will improve as Mrs Scott adjusts and improves her fluid intake, but she is advised to sit on the side of the bed for a few minutes if possible to allow her blood pressure to accommodate and therefore avoid any dizziness when standing. She may also benefit from using a walking frame at night when rising from bed to use the toilet.
They are given information about personal alarms that Mrs Scott can keep on her at all times. This way, she can raise the alert if she ever has a fall and is unable to reach a telephone to call for help in the event that Mr Scott might not be at home. The alarm can also be used for any other medical or personal emergency and helps provide peace of mind.