The Grey Bruce Public Health Unit is issuing a call to action: Working collectively to prevent falls across the lifespan.
Health Promoter Lena Sherazy says falls and fall-related injuries cost Ontario $2.8 billion per year.
In Grey Bruce, falls represent a significant public health issue for residents of all ages.
Grey Bruce has a 72% higher rate of emergency department visits due to falls across age groups when compared to Ontario.
Stats gathered by the Health Unit show from 2012 to 2014, Grey Bruce saw an average of between 2 and 3 fall-related hospitalizations per day.
While you might guess it's the elderly who fall the most, Sherazy says a large portion of the people who fall in Grey Bruce are between the ages of 15 and 24. Sherazy says they have a 124 per cent higher rate of falls than the provincial average. It's only 17 per cent higher among seniors.
Sherazy notes young people fall, in part, becasue a number of industries in Grey Bruce involve outdoor work like farming and forestry, mining, fishing and construction which can have a higher risk of falling.
Sherazy says since falls occur due to many complex factors, including biological, socioeconomic, behavioural and environmental factors, the Health Unit's Call to Action asks stakeholders to work together in preventing falls in Grey Bruce.
Each toolkit contains a self-assessment checklist to evaluate current practices that influence falls.
Sherazy says it will be sent to numerous departments in municipalities, like parks and recreation, for example to see if playgrounds need more fall prevention measures. It will also be sent to a number of other organizations.
Recommendations include 10 areas for action:
· Build Effective Fall Prevention Initiatives
· Health Equity
· Surveillance and Data
· Lifetime Physical Activity
· Risk Taking
· Alcohol and Medications
· Support for Individuals and Families
· Education and Awareness
Sherazy notes, a key way to reduce damage caused by falls is to be active from a young age. She says not only does it give a person better balance, but helps them to recover easier and