MORE than 1,000 people have been admitted into hospital with hip fractures across North Wales within the last year.

Figures show as many as one in three people aged 65 and over suffer a fall each year, while a hip fracture is most likely to happen to elderly and vulnerable people after a simple fall in the home environment. It often requires a complicated operation and some patients do not return to their pre-injury level of activity.

With an increase in fractures expected over the winter months, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board’s (BCUHB) orthopaedic and falls prevention team has urged members of the public to make easy changes to the serious injury which can have life-changing consequences.

Mr Ibrahim Malek, consultant orthopaedic and trauma surgeon, said people aged 80 and above are particularly vulnerable to hip fractures due to reduce vision, mobility and balance.

“As we head into the festive period we would like to encourage our communities across North Wales to keep an eye on elderly neighbours and relatives during the wintry weather,” he said.

“This is a good time to think about how the bad weather may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older and have pre-existing health conditions.”

Mr Malek said there are “very simple personal and household changes” that can reduce the risk of a fall. They include good lighting inside and outside your home, keeping walking areas clutter- and slip- and trip-free, and having sturdy hand railings, as well as suitable attire such as non-slip shoes, a walking stick and a mobile phone.

A healthy diet, gentle exercise to maintain muscle tone and regular visits to the GP and optician are also highly beneficial.

Jane Evans, trauma liaison nurse practitioner, said: “Losing bone is a normal part of ageing, but some people lose bone much faster than normal. Taking regular exercise can keep your bones as strong as possible, eating foods rich in calcium and vitamin D and making lifestyle changes such as giving up smoking and reducing your alcohol consumption can help with reducing the risks.”

Jo Davies, BCUHB’s falls community lead, said it is important that anyone who does experience a fall reports it to get the support they need.

“Many falls are not always reported and there is evidence to suggest that this is due to people fearing that reporting them will lead to losing their independence and their ability to remain in their home,” she said.

“Our Falls Prevention Team aims to support those over the age of 65 to recognise falls risks so easy interventions can be tailored to each individual.

“It is important we increase the knowledge and understanding of the benefits to ageing well amongst our younger population which will help to encourage physical and mental wellbeing at the earliest opportunity.”