The challenge most families are faced with in providing fall support to family members during a fall is how best to break the fall altogether.
Currently, most family members don’t have a means of doing so, other than through physical contact.
The problem with physical contact is the contact itself, which can lead to injury due to excessive force or pressure that family members or caregivers exert when breaking someone’s fall.
In other instances, it’s the lack of or inability to physically gain enough contact with the individual, which they than simply slip thru our hands.
When holding onto their arms or bear hugging is no longer enough, it’s time for a change.
Drop Support harness is a unique, upper body harness that wraps around the user’s waist, chest and torso, with an attached central handle running the length of the torso. The support handle is a point of contact between the user of the harness and the person assisting the user (“assistant”).
The design of the harness was brought about by asking ourselves one question.
What’s the best way to prevent a fall?
We came to one single conclusion.
By catching them before the fall, without the need of physical contact. Because even through physical contact, it was still uncertain that we would break the fall.
Drop Support takes the worry out of fall support, because when you grab the support handle. you can feel the fall security.
Center of Gravity & Balance:
- One key to maintaining balance is to control the location of the body’s center of gravity relative to its base of support.
- Once we lean forward or backward and allow our center of gravity to move beyond our base of support, we will quickly lose our balance and fall unless we move our center of gravity back over our base, or we move our base of support so that it remains under our center of gravity.
- Gravity accelerates objects towards the ground at a rate of 32 feet per second squared. With the force of gravity always pulling us downwards, it’s no wonder that even a small fall can cause big injuries.
- In addition to balance and gravity, another fall factor is friction, or more specifically, a lack of friction. Friction is the force which resists the movement of one solid object relative to another.
- Maintaining sufficient friction or traction while walking is critical to preventing falls. This is why friction is a fall factor which must be controlled.
- The last fall factor we will discuss is momentum. Momentum is a function of an object’s mass and speed. An object’s momentum determines how much force is required in order to bring the object to a stop.
- Momentum can become a fall factor in a variety of ways. First, developing excess momentum by traveling too fast can make it difficult to stop when confronted by an unexpected hazard.
- Second, an increase in momentum also increases the amount of friction which is required to prevent our feet from slipping on the traveling surface. In other words, the more momentum we carry the more likely we are to slip and fall.
- Finally, remember that “a body in motion tends to stay in motion.” When our base of support, our feet, are stopped suddenly, our center of gravity will tend to stay in motion and may extend too far past our base of support, causing a loss of balance and a fall.
Center of Gravity & Balance:
Use of the support handle, an assistant can aid the user in regaining their balance by helping them find their center of gravity and base of support. If the user begins to fall forward, backwards, or side-to-side, the assistant utilizes the support handle to change the direction of the fall to re-establish the user's center of gravity and allowing the user to find their base of support, which the user will then be stable and balanced.
When the Drop Support harness is properly fitted and snugly secured, the assistant has a better chance of slowing the user's forward/downward momentum before it has a chance of gaining acceleration. By limiting or reducing the user's momentum, the assistant is more likely to be able to manage the user's decent, which is both safer for the user and the assistant.