The start of summer is only a few weeks away, and as you head outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather, it’s important to protect yourself from both the sun and heat. As you’re packing your beach bag or rucksack with sunscreen and sunglasses, however, keep in mind that summertime safety only begins with sunscreen.
This month, the National Safety Council is advocating for your safety “from the workplace to anyplace,” and teaching families across the US to protect themselves from fall-related injuries. While many people are mindful of their risk for tripping and falling during the winter, the National Safety Council and healthcare professionals know that the summer weather can pose its own set of safety risks. In honor of National Safety Month and to help you stay safe outside this season, the Reunion team is sharing how we prevent patient falls during recovery.
Whether you’re an inpatient or an outpatient, these are our top five tips.
1. Stay hydrated
Dehydration and other heat-related illnesses can make patients feel dizzy and/or disoriented which may cause them to collapse. At Reunion, we schedule outdoor therapy activities during morning or evening hours. We also advise patients to drink two to four liters (or 8-16 cups) of water a day (https://www.huffpost.com/entry...).
2. Stay active
While you should avoid spending time outdoors during the hottest parts of the day, regular physical activity can help you build and maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. In fact, all Reunion physical and occupational therapists prioritize fall prevention training with patients in recovery. This training is important for patients recovering from brain injuries that impact their physical movement as well as patients who have undergone orthopedic surgeries that impact their gait and mobility. Engaging in regular physical activity can not only help you heal from falls, then, but it can help you prevent them in the first place.
3. Watch your step
Reunion physical therapists not only train patients using advanced technology but also train them to navigate therapeutic stairs and a ramp and curb step system. This training helps patients learn to walk on different terrains and adjust their gait as needed.
To prevent falls this summer, remember to watch your step as you step outdoors. Whether you’re hiking or walking the beach, outdoor terrains can change quickly so pay attention to incline changes and tripping hazards (such as tree roots) to reduce your risk of falling.
4. Mind your meds
Reunion has an on-site pharmacy to give our patients faster access to individualized care. This access is crucial for patients managing side effects from multiple medications, especially among patients who are at a greater risk for dizziness. To prevent indoor falls, we both adjust patient medications and use non-slip flooring throughout our hospital. But this intervention is not just important for patients in inpatient recovery; it’s important for patients outside the hospital as well. If one or more of your medicines is causing you to experience dizziness, you may want to talk with your healthcare provider about eliminating it or making adjustments to the dosage. You may also want to install handrails or wear non-slip socks in your own home to protect yourself in the event of indoor falls.
5. Lace up
During the summer, you’re more likely to cover new ground – whether on the beach or on a trail. Good shoes can keep you on your feet whenever you’re at risk of slipping or losing your balance outdoors. At Reunion, we ask patients to bring a pair of comfortable and supportive shoes for physical therapy, so wear shoes that fit you well and have non-slip soles to help you maintain your balance outdoors.
While falls are not inevitable, many patients are at greater risk for falls during the summer. By implementing these fall prevention strategies in your life, you can enjoy a safe and active summer season. To learn about patient safety at Reunion, please check out Patient Amenities https://reunionrehabhospital.c...