What to Do If You Fall (or See Someone Else Fall)

This past week, we’ve given you a lot of information regarding the research on how we maintain our balance and how the fear of falling may actually increase the risk of falling.

While we’ve given you these facts in hopes of preventing the worst, there’s still the possibility that you or a loved one could fall, which is why it is extremely important to know what to do in such a situation.

In the event that a fall does occur, the Public Health Agency of Canada has compiled scenarios and steps to be taken in each. These are outlined below.

Scenario 1: You have fallen, but believe you can get up

Before you attempt to get up, you should collect your thoughts and take a moment to check and see if you are injured.

If you believe you can get up, here is what the PHAC suggests:

  • Lie on your side, bend the leg that is on top and lift yourself onto your elbows or hands.
  • Pull yourself toward an armchair or other sturdy object, then kneel while placing both hands on the chair or object.
  • Place your stronger leg in front, holding on to the chair or object.
  • Stand up.
  • Very carefully, turn and sit down.

Scenario 2: You have fallen, but believe you cannot get up.


If you feel any discomfort or believe you cannot get up, here is what the PHAC suggests:

  • Call out for help if you think you can be heard.
  • If you have an emergency call device or telephone at hand, use it.
  • If you don’t, try to slide yourself towards a telephone or a place where you will be heard.
  • Make noise with your cane or another object to attract attention.
  • Wait for help in the most comfortable position for you.
  • If you can, place a pillow under your head and cover yourself with a piece of clothing or a blanket to stay warm.
  • Try to move your joints to ease circulation and prevent stiffness.

Scenario 3: You’ve witnessed a fall and the individual believes they cannot get up

When you have witnessed a fall, it’s important that you assess the situation before helping. Do not try to get the person up immediately.

If the individual believes they cannot get up, here is what the PHAC suggests:

Call for help and administer first aid if you are able to do so. Help the person find a comfortable position and keep him or her warm using an item of clothing or blanket.

Scenario 4: You’ve witnessed a fall and the individual believes they can get up

Here is what the PHAC suggests:

  • Bring a chair close by, help the person turn onto their side and bend the upper leg, and then help the person into a semi-seated position.
  • Placing yourself behind the person and getting a firm grip on the hips, help the person to a kneeling position with both hands on the chair.
  • Holding on to the chair, the person should then place the stronger leg in front. You may help by guiding his or her leg.
  • With a firm grip on the hips, help the person to stand, then turn and sit on the chair.

A key thing to remember in all of these situations is to stay calm in order to prevent any more injury.

For more information about falls and fall prevention, including visuals, see our brochure here or check out our falls section here. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us in the comments or on Twitter.

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