Fall Prevention in Dialysis
Falls are a concern for anybody in old age, but dialysis patients are at a significantly higher risk. Factors such as dizziness from medication and poor blood circulation make dialysis patients approximately three times more likely to fall than the general population. Here are some tips on how to prevent falls and keep yourself safe.
How to Prevent Falls
If you start noticing a change in balance, vision, or strength and are falling or almost falling more frequently, report these changes to your doctor. Doctors may not notice everything during a routine visit, especially if you are sitting down throughout.
Your doctor may change your medications or decrease/increase the dose accordingly. They also might refer you to a physical therapist or advise you to take some balance and strengthening exercise classes. Strengthening your muscles is one of the best and easiest ways to prevent future falls.
If you feel tired or weak, be more cautious of your surroundings. You might not want to walk around a dimly lit house if you are tired and more prone to falls. Keep some lights on, be well-rested if you're going somewhere, and remove potential hazards in your home (i.e., cables, things on the floor, and cluttered hallways).
Talk to your doctor and caregivers about making necessary adjustments around the house to make it safer. You may wish to install some handrails in the shower or place nonslip mats in the bathroom.
Why Fall Prevention is Important
Even if a fall is minor and you don’t have any visible injuries, you should take each one seriously and report them to your doctor. The more you fall, the more you’re likely to fall in the future as you become less confident and more fearful. If you are on dialysis, you most likely are on anticoagulation (blood thinners).
Because of this, falls can cause internal bleeding or injury that you may not even be aware of at that moment. Don’t be afraid to venture out in the world - as long as you take the necessary precautions and keep track of any changes, you’re all set!