The Long Lie

Are your patients or loved ones able to get help if they fall?

A Long Lie is defined as remaining on the floor or ground for more than one hour following a fall”

Only about 50% of people are able to get up from the ground or floor following a fall.  A long lie is a marker of weakness, illness and isolation and is associated with high levels of mortality rates in the elderly following a fall.  The amount of time spent on the floor following a fall is associated with fear of falling, muscle damage, pneumonia, pressure sores, dehydration and hypothermia.

All people at risk of falling should have a strategy for getting up following the fall.  This maybe as simple as education for their carer to assist them off the ground or floor including safe lifting or checking someone for serious injury.

No one wants to fall.  And most people think it will not happen to them, however the research shows us that

1 in 3 people over the age of 65 years will fall over each year.

Preparing for this, should this happen, will make it easier to minimize further injury and expedite getting up from the ground.

Useful strategies include

  • Having a means for personal assistance – ideally a personal alarm worn around the wrist or the neck (the back of the bathroom door is very unhelpful in these circumstances), carrying a mobile or portable phone at all times, a whistle or a “screamer” alarm can also alert people that help is required.
  • Leave a spare key with family or close neighbour so assistance can be received with required
  • Learn and practice how to get up off the floor should a fall occur.
  • Teach care givers or family how to assist someone to get off the floor should a fall occur

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