When you experience an injury or someone you care for experiences an accident, there is a degree of anguish, shock, action, and ‘care’ that goes through your mind, as the adrenaline flows, and your body goes into the ‘sympathetic nervous system’. I was reading about first responders who came to the aid of a man bitten by a great white shark. They responded to a shark attack at Newcomb Hollow Beach where a 26-year-old man named Medici was boogie-boarding with his girlfriend’s brother.
At least three off-duty Wellfleet lifeguards ran to help the injured man. So did several beachgoers, who tried to stem the flow of blood with a leash from the board, a dog’s leash, and towels. The man’s legs were bitten, witnesses said.” Can you imagine how shocking that would be for the young man and those people around the incident? Sadly the man passed away, which greatly affected all those who were involved with getting him out of the water and applying the tourniquets etc.
In the last 10 years or so, there is a new emphasis on recognizing the mental health aspects of emergency response, as people who have been involved with a rescue or seen way too much blood and carnage are often deeply affected long after the scene. Although my father wasn’t involved in a shark attack, the shock, and strain of his fall were taxing enough. But gratefully we did have some tools to put in place to help him.
Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury in older Australians. As our population ages and the number of older people grows, the likelihood of more falls and fall-related hospitalizations increases.
Nearly 1 in 3 older Australians have experienced a fall in the past 12 months. Of these, 1 in 5 required hospitalization.
Even when falls don’t cause an injury, they often trigger a loss of confidence in an older person and lead to the ongoing fear of falling. Over time, this can lead to the person limiting their movements and reducing their activity, which further increases the risk of falling.
A recent example of ‘falling trauma’ was when my father fell on the gravel road not far from our home. The first I knew of it, my husband Darryl, came to me in the hallway of the house and said that he had just caught sight of my dad and that he was approaching the front entrance with blood all over him, he had fallen while walking. I’m glad Darryl prepared me, as he also said gently, ‘keep calm’. I took a breath and prepared myself as much as I could for whatever I would see. (more…)