‘Wise Up’ campaign aims to reduce home accidents

A campaign to help prevent simple home accidents, like the one suffered by 61 year-old Kathleen Boyle, has been launched at Altnagelvin hospital and begins next week.

Home Accident Prevention Week is geared at helping people, and particularly the elderly, take small precautions which could prevent many accidents.

Accidental falls claimed the lives of 155 people across Northern Ireland in 2009 - and two thirds of them were aged 65 or over.

Many of those accidents could have been prevented if people had taken simple precautions such as not leaving things lying on stairs or wearing footwear to suit weather conditions.

A DVD to highlight the ways accidents can be prevented is being released tomorrow.

Altnagelvin’s Dr Alan McKinney, an A&E consultant, said: “It is important for the general public to be more aware of the falls and the impact they have, especially in the older population.

“The launch of this DVD and the information provided alongside helps to draw attention to the risks associated with falls and the often serious consequences of a fall in the home.”

The DVD includes the story of 61 year-old Kathleen Boyle whose accident had serious repercussions on her lifestyle.

After breaking her ankle after falling down two steps outside her front door, she was confined to her bed for a week and to her bedroom for a further eight weeks.

She needed visits from a nurse for a further four weeks.

During that time her independence was badly affected as she had to rely on others and she went to suffer from depression.

Collette Craig, who’s the chairperson of Home Accident Prevention Foyle, said the DVD should help raise awareness of the problems.

“The prevention of falls involving older people will be Home Accident Prevention Northern Ireland’s main theme for the whole year and the DVD will be shown on a regular basis right across the country,” she said.