News & Events

Door work reduces falls risk at Braeside Park

August 18, 2017

The removal of safety hazards from the doorways of independent living units at OCAV’s Braeside Park village in Berwick is expected to significantly reduce falls. A grant from the Andrews Foundation means 14 door threshold trip hazards will be removed before the end of the year. Forty door thresholds need to be done and OCAV has already funded the fixing of five doors


Braeside Park’s maintenance supervisor Dean Griffin said the door threshold posed a risk to most residents, but particularly those who need to use a walking frame or walking stick to get around.


OCAV’s Property Manager, Damian Pennington, said removing the door threshold hazard would cost $350 per door and involves removing the unit’s doors, removing the door thresholds, leveling the doorway with the inside and outside surfaces and finally filling and sealing the gap.


A large part of OCAV’s ongoing village maintenance involves reducing falls risks. Cracks and drops in Braeside Park’s concrete paths were all leveled a couple of years ago. Dean monitors footpaths to ensure no new cracks are left unattended.


“Sadly, residents do fall and often it is when they first move in and are not aware of the bumps and dips,” Dean said “We do try and make people aware of things they need to watch out for.


Falls are a common cause of injury for older people with around 1 in 3 older Australians suffering a fall each year. The rates for elderly people living in residential settings are even higher. A single fall can cost the health system up to $5,688, while the consequences of learning to live with a permanent disability are inestimable. In many cases, a fall will trigger a steady decline in health and a premature move into aged care accommodation.

Many residents use a wheelie walker to maintain their independence and walking confidence, and in some cases use their walkers to enter and exit their units.   However, the walkers often prove problematic when trying to manoeuvre over a door threshold and step. In fact there have been three recent falls where residents have tripped over front thresholds, one of which resulted in a hospital admission.

Damian said OCAV has a long term plan to remove all the door thresholds but were limited by funds. “At the moment we complete the work based on resident needs,” he said. “That’s why grants, like the one from the Andrews Foundation can make such a huge difference.”

Caption: Dean Griffin inspects one of the Braeside Park units scheduled to have the door threshold removed some time this year


Volunteering is important to Deb, enabling her to contribute in the aged care sector. “I love it when the residents get downright cheeky. I love it when we get a bit too loud with laughing."

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