When Melbourne woman May falls in her garden and needs assistance on the new Channel 9 series Paramedics, it’s much more complicated than a helping hand to get back on her feet.
May is 98, fiercely independent and desperate to stay living in her beloved home of 93 years. However it looks like she’s suffered a fracture to her left hip, and it’s touch and go whether she’ll be a candidate for surgery and able to recover.
May, 98, receives some pain relief after suffering a fall in her garden.
“Most people think of a hip injury as something quite minor, but for older people especially not only can it be life changing but it can actually be life threatening,” says paramedic Amanda on the show.
Elderly falls is a common theme on the television series, reflecting what’s happening in our community every day. In an earlier episode, Nancy, 85, falls off her couch and can not get up. Paramedics assist Nancy with the help of a nifty lifting machine called an ‘Elk’.
Nancy, 85, is up and about again after some help from paramedics and a non-emergency patient transport crew.
May and Nancy are among the 70,000 Triple Zero (000) calls made in Victoria last year for an elderly person who had fallen.
Around half of these patients required an ambulance – the rest were safely managed by Ambulance Victoria’s secondary triage, where expert help is provided by paramedics and nurses over the phone.
It is estimated that:
- at least one-third of people aged 65 years and over fall one or more times a year
- older people are 12 times more likely to have a fall than a car or pedestrian accident.
Injuries caused by falls in older people can cause hip and wrist fractures, dislocations, bruising, head injuries and many other problems. Some of these injuries can be life-changing as it may be difficult for the person to recover and return to a normal independent life.
“I really, really feel sorry for May and I’m really concerned because she’s got a nasty fracture. I will be so sad if she loses her independence because of this,” says paramedic Taz on the show.
There is plenty you can do to avoid falls and injuries from falls.
Whether it’s for you or someone you know – a loved one or a neighbour – the Better Health Channel has some great tips to prevent falls. There are helpful tips staying healthy and active in later years too.
The outcomes for both May and Nancy were thankfully very positive. May received surgery to repair her hip and has been recovering well in hospital – and looking forward to driving her manual car once again. Nancy is enjoying life at home with the support of her loving daughter.
Their stories are a reminder of the wide range of jobs that paramedics attend to each day.
“This job is certainly not all heroics, action, lives being saved. Everyone’s version of an emergency is different. So as long as we are there when they’re going through a tough time, then we are doing our job,” says paramedic Nat on the show.
Paramedics airs 8.30pm Thursday nights on Channel 9.
Catch-up on recent episodes of Paramedics at 9Now.