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Ambulance Victoria is urging people to check on neighbours and relatives aged over 65 who are at risk of developing hypothermia (extremely cold body temperature) if they are injured in a fall at home during winter.
Paramedics across Victoria have been called to more than 750 cases involving someone aged over 65 falling in the last ten days.
Of the 63 cases yesterday, four of those injured were also suffering mild hypothermia.
Ambulance Victoria Acting General Manager Regional Services Garry Cook said some people were severely hypothermic.
‘Unfortunately it isn’t uncommon for people aged over 65 to fall at home and be on the floor overnight,’ Mr Cook said.
‘In the last week paramedics have treated people who have had a body temperature in the low 30s which is a life threatening situation.
‘Family and friends can help in reducing the chance of a loved one falling in the home.
‘It’s important to try to eliminate potential hazards in the house and garden which could lead to a fall,’ Mr Cook said.
‘They can include improving lighting, keeping walkways clear and using non slip flooring in wet areas like the kitchen or bathroom.
‘We want to encourage family, friends and neighbours of those aged 65 to stay in touch and do regular checks. It’s also a good idea for people aged over 65 have a cordless or mobile phone or a personal alarm call system so they can get help if they fall and can’t get up.
‘It is advisable to schedule a set time each day to make contact, to ensure relatives haven’t been injured in a fall overnight.
‘If someone has fallen and has lost consciousness, has difficulty breathing or can’t get up then you should call 000 (triple zero),’ Mr Cook said.