What to do after falling in the shower? It is much better to be proactive about fall prevention than to be sorry later. Since shower tiles and bathtubs are wet and slippery, they can be a dangerous place in the home. The consequences of a fall in the shower can be life-altering for a senior. It may be the deciding factor that determines that living independently is no longer an option. SO BE CAREFUL! A little thoughtful planning and careful preparation can go a long way to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones.
What happens if you slip in the shower?
A fall may potentially cause injury when people slip or lose their balance in the shower. Unless there is a handy grab rail , stander security pole or shower chair to grab on to, there is only one way to go, and that is down! If you should ever fall, please try to relax as you fall. That is easier said than done, I know, but it is important to try! Protect your head with your hand or forearm if possible to prevent a head injury, and don’t panic! So, there you are, lying on the floor with water pelting down. What should you do to recover from this situation?
What should you do after the fall?
As you start to collect yourself, it is normal to take a few moments before you realize what happened. If you fall in the shower, lie still for a moment and breathe deeply to catch your breath. According to the National Institute of Aging, this helps you get over the shock after a fall. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE IF YOU ARE INJURED!
Then check yourself for cuts and broken bones. If you are bleeding, apply pressure to the wound with your bare hand or use a towel. Stay calm and call out for help if someone is close by, or dial 911 emergency if a phone is at hand. Did you know that there are waterproof emergency communication devices that can even be worn while showering? This type of safety device can be a big help if this ever happens to you, especially if you are alone. If you are not seriously injured, crawl out to a safe place and review your injuries in more detail.
As you check yourself for injuries, please remember the warning signs that you may have a broken bone:
- Swelling or bruising on your arm or leg
- The limb looks deformed or out of shape
- Your arm or leg hurts when you move it
- The limb is ‘floppy,’ and you can’t use it
Here is a summary of what we have covered so far:
- listed safety products that can help prevent or assist you after a fall
- stressed the importance of not panicking and breathing deeply
- we told you to apply pressure to a wound if you are bleeding
- gave you pointers to determine if you have possibly broken bones
- told you DO NOT ATTEMPT TO MOVE IF YOU ARE INJURED!
- Shown you ways to quickly summon help
Hopefully, you have assessed the situation, called for help, and started collecting yourself again. You can’t lie on the shower floor forever. If you are not injured too badly and do not feel dizzy, you may consider attempting to get up.
This type of incident is why the elderly need to consider wearing an emergency monitoring device.
Two critical questions now remain: Should I go to the ER after a fall, or should I see a doctor? The information below will help you decide if you need immediate medical attention or advice after experiencing a fall.
Most Common Causes of Falls in the Elderly – Video
Elderly Fall Prevention
This video by CAMC Health System talks of the dramatic increase of elderly injuries and even deaths from falls. Some of the causes of such falls around the home are listed out. We hope that you will find the tips in this video helpful in preventing falls and fall-related injuries.
Should I go to the ER after a fall?
Let’s face it! Our bodies are just not the same as they used to be. Injuries should always be taken seriously at any age. Still, they are even more concerning when they happen to very young and older adults. Older adults have thinner skin and may tend to bruise easily, especially if they are on blood-thinning medication; external and internal bleeding is a concern. Any injury can develop into something more serious, especially for an older person. Hence, if you error, it is always best to a mistake on the side of safety. Suppose you are in bad pain, discomfort, or don’t feel right. In that case, your injuries may require you to go immediately to the nearest emergency room and get your injuries professionally checked out.
Here’s a checklist of when you may need to visit the Emergency Room:
- If your foot or ankle hurts when you take a few steps, you may have a sprain or bone fracture
- If you have a large wound that needs proper cleaning or cut that may require stitches
Below are signs and symptoms of a head concussion per the CDC
- Headache or “pressure” in the head.
- Nausea or vomiting.
- Balance problems or dizziness, or double or blurry vision.
- Bothered by light or noise.
- Feeling sluggish, hazy, foggy, or groggy.
- Confusion, or concentration, or memory problems.
- Just not “feeling right” or “feeling down.”
These things are unlikely to go away on their own. You need to visit the emergency room as soon as possible after your fall in the shower. A health care provider will know what to do and will provide the necessary care. As was written above and now stated again: “Any injury can develop into something more serious especially for an older person, so if you error, it is always best to an error on the side of safety.”
If you feel that a trip right now to the emergency room is unnecessary, you should ask the following questions:
Should I see a doctor after a fall?
So far, so good; at least you are back on your feet and can maybe move around again. However, you still need to do a more detailed self-assessment to decide if you should see a doctor.
Call your doctor if any of these apply:
- Maybe you can hobble around the house, but you may need medication to control pain or prevent an infection from a cut or scrape.
- You pulled or strained a muscle which limits the mobility of a joint. If this is not taken care of, it can lead to further pain and, even worse, another fall!
- Call your doctor if you notice any redness, bruising, or swelling.
- Your elbow or knee locks up, in which case you may have torn a ligament that’s interfering with the joint.
- It’s been a while since you fell in the shower, but you are not back to normal. The aches and pains from the fall persist.
You need to see a doctor if any of these apply. Even if you think that your injuries did not make this list, simply put, you should call your doctor for their advice always after experiencing a fall!
We hope that this article gave you some good pointers to help you experience a fall.
Please stay safe and take good care of yourself!
Senior Shower Safety – Infographic
“Smart people learn from everything and everyone,
Average people from their experiences,
Stupid people already have all the answers.”