Hip Protector

Every year, an increasing number of elderly people suffer a hip fracture. Hip fractures are a major cause of morbidity and mortality for people over 65 years of age, and almost all occur as a result of a simple fall. A hip fracture could turn the life of an individual upside down. Less than half of the people suffering a hip fracture regain the mobility they had before the fracture occurred. Many become dependent on the assistance of others – or move to residential aged care .

The risk of falls and hip fractures increases with age especially if there is brittleness of the bones (osteoporosis), which is a widespread condition occurring in elderly women and men.

Hip protectors are one way of reducing the risk of a hip fracture from a fall. Hip protectors which are plastic shields or foam pads that fit into the pockets of specially designed underwear, have been advocated as a means to reduce the risk of sustaining a fracture as a result of a fall on the hip. They help to absorb impact and disperse the force acting on the hip bone. People who are thin are especially recommended to consider wearing these, as they have less natural ‘padding’ around their hips. People with osteoporosis are also recommended to consider hip protectors, as they have a greater chance of bone fracture should they fall.

To see a range of products available, view the equipment catalogue from the Independent Living Centre.

Bed/chair alarms/nursing call systems

It can be difficult for nursing staff to keep a watchful eye on all people in their care, and those who are confused are more likely to get up unaided, and unexpectedly, and be at risk of falling. Bed and chair alarms can be a very helpful way of monitoring a patient’s movement, without medication or physical restraints. They are normally used with people who stand up from a chair or get out of bed and are at risk of falling. These patients or residents may be able to walk a little, but may put themselves or others in danger.

Response systems are usually a form of monitor, incorporating an alarm that sounds when a person moves. There are a number of response systems commercially available. In some systems, an alarm is activated by a pressure sensor when a person starts to move from a bed or chair. In other systems, an alarm sounds when any part of a person’s body moves into or within a space monitored by the alarm. Response systems require capital investment and reliance on a third party (staff or the person’s carer) to respond when the alarm sounds, so ward practices may need to accommodate their introduction.

These systems have had been subjected to minimal research, so currently their use is supported only by weak evidence.

Independent Living Centres

There is a range of equipment available to help prevent falls from occuring and/or reduce the severity of a possible fall. These include:

  • hip protectors
  • elbow and skin protectors
  • bed raisers
  • bed rails
  • slip-resistant floorings
  • bath boards
  • shower chairs
  • commodes
  • shower trolleys
  • slings
  • hoists
  • lifting and transferring aids
  • chair raisers
  • walking frames (including quadrupods, tripods)
  • walkers

They are available from a range of suppliers, please refer to the Independent Living Centres Australia for more information.

To see a range of products available, view the equipment catalogue from the Independent Living Centre.

Royal Society for the Blind


The Royal Society for the Blind has a range of services and products to assist persons who are vision impaired.

Their Adaptive Technology Centre (ATC) assists persons who are blind or vision impaired to use adaptive technology in education, employment and the home.

For more information, visit their website www.rsb.org.au

logo copy

Guide Dogs

Guide Dogs SA NT provides innovative solutions for the needs of the blind, vision impaired and/or deaf, hearing impaired, as well as families of children with autism.

Visit their website for further information.

Personal Alarms

Personal Alarms

The Seniors Information Service Inc provides detailed information on the types of personal alarms available and a list of providers. Click on this link to view their Personal alarms page.

Those aged 75 years or older (people of Aboriginal descent must be 65 years or older) who meet other  criteria may be eligible for a government rebate on a personal alarm system – click here to read more.