Preventing falls in people with learning disabilities (Added 23/10/19 )

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People with learning disabilities have a similar risk of falls throughout their lives as olderpeople in the general population. Around one-third of falls by people with learning disabilities result in injury and the rate of fractures is higher than in the rest of the population. This may be due to increased risk of osteoporosis. Falls and injuries are avoidable causes of frailty and reduced wellbeing, in addition to significant costs caused to health and social care.

Falls risks are usually multi-factorial; accordingly, risk assessments and the resulting actions to prevent falls must address the wide range of factors that may be involved for an individual. Some factors may be intrinsic to the person (such as sensory impairments), some linked to behaviour and lifestyle, and some environmental.

Policy and guidance on preventing falls focuses on older people; the growing body of evidence relating to people with learning disabilities suggests that much of the policy and guidance may be equally applicable, while taking account of some specific considerations.
These should include:

Providing accessible information for people with learning disabilities and information for family members and paid support staff

ensuring that risk assessments cover risks known to be associated with having a learning disability (for example, epilepsy, impaired vision, multiple medications)

making reasonable adjustments to enable full assessment of bone density

tailoring interventions to the individual, their lifestyle and the support available to them
providing adapted interventions (such as strength and balance exercise programmes)

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