Pascal Debbaut -  the problem of the fall

It is time to act on fall prevention - Pascal Debbaut

27 Mar 2023

For our Spring 2023 Newsletter, Pascal Debbaut shares with us an editorial on the issue of falls.

Falls are a common problem, especially among frail older people. As the population ages, the number of falls increases, and the consequences become more serious. As a result, elderly people lose their self-confidence, find it harder to walk, or cannot return home after surgery, with a severe impact on their own lives and society.

Older adults want to continue living at home. Many over-60s wish to stay in their homes with various forms of care and support. Remarkably, a large proportion says they want to live in an assisted living home or prefer group living before moving to a residential care centre.

Fall prevention is, therefore, an important area of focus in home and residential care. Technology can play an essential role in preventing falls and analysing their causes. It can be done by monitoring movement patterns or recognising risk factors. When a bed has been unoccupied for a while, the caregiver can receive a signal informing them of this. Even if the user or patient takes an unjustifiable risk, the caregiver may be able to intervene in time.

Unfortunately, not all falls can be stopped, but technology can also help investigate the causes of the fall incident. Through video analysis of the fall, a multidisciplinary team of care staff can better understand the situation and look for ways to prevent the incident in the future. But when recognising movement patterns, technology may have an impact on privacy unless protective measures are taken, and therefore special attention should be paid to it.

This technology alone is not sanctifying. In preventing falls, a multidisciplinary approach is necessary for which the resident/patient and their family are assigned an important role. Adequate training and sensitisation of the caregiver and the resident/patient also remain prerequisites for fewer falls.

Technology thus offers many opportunities for fall prevention. Explaining and further developing these opportunities with a multidisciplinary approach is essential. Preventing falls not only results in fewer hospital admissions but also in older people being able to continue living safely and independently in their private environment. Fall prevention and monitoring should also be given due consideration in the design of future care infrastructure. Probis supports care and welfare organisations in the concept development of new care infrastructure, also paying due attention to this.

Author: Pascal Debbaut, senior adviser care & welfare, Probis (

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