When Martin Lynch, M.D., kept seeing older patients at the Floyd Center for Wound Care & Hyperbarics returning with wounds caused by falls, he knew he had to be proactive.
Dr. Lynch turned to SPIRIT, the employee funded arm of Floyd Healthcare Foundation that works to improve patient care and education in the community. Through his Armor for the Elderly initiative, SPIRIT provided a grant to purchase low profile, shock absorbing pads to protect people from falls.
The padding can be concealed under clothing. It is unobtrusive and can help prevent a large, slow-to-heal wound from forming as a result of a fall.
“Wearing arm, knee or shin guards isn't for everybody, but after two or three serious wounds because of a fall, it could be time for proactive intervention," said Dr. Lynch.
Senior patients can be more susceptible to developing serious wounds after a fall. They often have thinner skin and can bleed more if they are on blood thinners. Many of these patients may also have other medical issues that can hamper the healing process, such as diabetes, circulatory diseases or heart failure.
“We hope patients will realize that wearing these guards can play a big role in preventing troubling injuries," Dr. Lynch said. “They can be worn discreetly and comfortably."
Patients can keep the guards and use when needed.
Floyd is currently involved in a communitywide effort to prevent falls, working with various partners to make sure homes and workplaces are safer.
Nationwide, falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and account for more than 8 million hospital emergency room visits each year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.