Falls are very common for the elderly, both at home and in long-term care settings like nursing homes. However, in many cases, falls are preventable.
Because many falls in nursing homes are never reported, according to the Centers for Disease Control, it is unclear how common they are.
Falls can have devastating consequences for residents. These can include bone fractures; brain injuries; loss of functional abilities; pain; and loss of quality of life. These consequences, in turn, often lead to loss of independence, social withdrawal, anxiety, and depression.
The residents are at high risk for falls due to a number of factors, such as:
- Difficulty walking
- Dizziness from medications
- Decreased sense of balance
- Slowed reflexes
Damaged or improper ambulatory aids, like canes or walkers, may also contribute to falls.
Nursing homes can prevent most falls by:
- Carefully and regularly screening each patient for fall risk
- Requiring at least one staff member to help high-risk patients walk, with no exceptions
- Using bed alarms to signal that a high-risk patient has gotten out of bed without assistance
- Training staff on fall prevention
- Keeping all ambulatory aids in good working order
- Eliminating trip hazards like exposed cables and slippery floors
If you need support or have any questions, please contact us for immediate assistance.
For tips on fall prevention, visit http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/fall-prevention/art-20047358