Safety Tips for Patients & Family Caregivers

The preventing of falls is particularly important for patients recuperating from surgery and those experiencing malnutrition. Patients with osteoporosis are especially vulnerable to falls resulting in broken bones. Gastrointestinal cancer patients, suffering from malnutrition, are at risk for osteoporosis at any age.

Falls, leading to fractures, can be caused by:

environmental factors*,
impaired vision and/or balance,
chronic diseases that impair mental or physical functioning,
medications, including pain relief, sedatives and antidepressants.
alcohol (alcohol and certain medications do not mix well and may result in dizziness and loss of balance.)

*Tips to help eliminate environmental factors leading to falls include:


•During recuperation, or whenever needed, use a cane or walker to increase stability.
•Wear rubber-soled shoes to improve traction.


•Keep rooms clutter-free, especially the floors.
•Mop up floor spills. Highly polished floors can become particularly slippery if wet.
•Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes.
•Avoid walking in socks, stockings, or slippers. Use footwear with "skid-proof treads."
•Carpets and area rugs should have skid-proof backing or be tacked to the floor.
•Stairs should have handrails on both sides. Stairwells should be well lit.
•Install grab bars on bathroom walls near tub, shower, and toilet.
•Use a rubber bath mat or appliques in shower or tub.
•Keep a flashlight with fresh batteries beside the bed.
•Carry a cordless or cell phone in your pocket.
•Don’t rush to answer the phone or open a door. Callers and visitors can wait!

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Articles posted in PMP Pals and on are written from the perspective of patients and their family caregivers and are not intended to substitute for licensed, professional legal or medical advice. All patients are individuals with unique cases. Patients should seek the counsel of their own healthcare providers regarding their specific case and needs. © 2011 by Gabriella Graham/PMP Pals’ Network/All rights reserved. For more information, visit us at where “We have HOPE for YOU!”


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