Causing just shy of half a million annual ER admissions at a cost of $5.6 billion* among seniors alone, falls are a major burden on Canada’s health services.
That’s why November has been designated Fall Prevention Month – to raise awareness of the impact of falls on health as well as national resources, and to inspire a collaborative approach to reducing that impact.
More than 420,000 Canadians aged 65 and over experience a fall each year, with over half of these occurring in the home. Outside of the home, the next most common location for falls among seniors is in a healthcare setting, either in residential care or an acute care environment such as a hospital.
As a society, we all have our part to play in reducing the incidence of falls, especially among seniors, who are more likely to have a life-changing outcome as the result of a fall. As well as improving awareness and our own understanding of the physical and psychological factors that contribute to falls, this means building environments that are safer for people who may be unsteady on their feet, suffering from visual impairment or affected by cognitive problems.
Why handrail matters
Installing good quality handrail throughout the built environment is one of the most effective things any organization can do to reduce the risk of falls.
The design, location and positioning of handrail can have a significant impact on its effectiveness when it comes to preventing falls – and of course, that’s not the only consideration. In the past two years, healthcare organizations have had to review the safety of their handrail not just in terms of fall prevention, but also infection control. We’re seeing more and more enquiries for anti-microbial handrail which can help to stop the spread of germs, and since late 2020 we’ve been inundated with requests from organizations looking to replace wooden handrail with a more hygienic option – find out why wood is falling out of favour here.
Research shows that higher contrast between the handrail and the wall – achieved through careful interior design and colour selection – can make it easier for people with dementia or a visual impairment to see and use that handrail.
Ensuring the handrail is at the correct height – or offering two different heights, especially in hospitals where adults and children are patients – can also reduce the risk of falls. In care homes, minimizing the number of ‘breaks’ in the handrail throughout your interior means residents have security and safety at their fingertips all the time, which can improve their confidence as well as their independence.
At Belroc, we offer a wide range of handrail options including innovative anti-microbial options, bariatric handrail with additional load capacity, and hard-working dual-purpose handrails that double up as wall protection to keep your interiors looking fresh for longer.
But it’s not just products we bring to the table. When you partner with Belroc, you’ll tap into two decades of expertise in interior specialties that will ensure your next handrail installation is swift, seamless and fit for purpose.
Working with you and your architect, we’ll ask all the right questions to ensure your specified handrail is compatible with your building infrastructure as well as the needs of the end user, avoiding costly oversights on things like wall reinforcements or building compliance regulations while ensuring you get the best possible value for money and a handrail that goes on preventing falls for many years to come.
We’re also an expert supplier of other interior specialties – such as floor grills, lockers and storage solutions – that can further reduce the risk of falls by eliminating slip and trip hazards in public sector interiors.
If you’re planning a handrail upgrade or installation but aren’t sure where to begin, we’d love to help. Contact Dan Lawrenson by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or request a callback.
*Parachute, 2021. Potential Lost, Potential for Change: The Cost of Injury in Canada 2021.