The prolonged cold snap is beginning to take its toll on West Kootenay residents.
The Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital (KBRH) is seeing a spike in hip fractures over the past two weeks.
Jane Cudsen, KBRH interim health service administrator, reported 12 patients have been admitted over the past week for hip fractures and three are currently awaiting surgery in the last 24 hours.
“Trips and falls are the leading cause of the injuries,” Cudsen told the Trail Times on Tuesday.
While children and outdoor enthusiasts, like skiers, are common victims of falls, Cudsen is warning seniors to be extra cautious as ice continues to build up on the sidewalks and streets during the cold spell.
“A percentage of the injuries are caused from the icy conditions,” she said, adding falls in the home are also attributing to the spike.
“People have a blanket wrapped around them at home or there are more rugs out and they slip causing falls.”
With the holiday season also comes the extra clutter around the house with more decorations and extension cords, all potential tripping hazards.
Cudsen said it was important for people, especially the elderly, to be prepared to go outside.
“They have to take special care on the snow and to make sure their own steps are clear.”
She advises seniors to make sure their shoes or boots have good traction or snow grips strapped to their boots.
For those using canes, she recommends a cane with a spike or grip for better stability.
“The key is not to rush,” she said. “Use good judgment and good shoes.”
Cudsen said KBRH handles the hip surgeries but patients having been coming from all corners of the region during the recent spike.