How to Prevent Falls in Nursing Homes

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Vigilance needed to prevent nursing home neglect
December 18, 2012
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Fatal medical trascription led to death
December 20, 2012

Falls among nursing home residents occur frequently and  are a common cause of injuries and hospitalizations.  In a typical 100 bed nursing home, there are 100 to 200 falls per year and many go unreported.  Aside from being injured, residents who fall typically lose confidence, frequently sustain hip fractures and head injuries that result in permanent disability and reduced quality of life.   Environmental hazards in nursing homes cause 16% to 27% of falls among residents. 

Hazards In Nursing Homes 

  • wet floors
  • poor lighting
  • incorrect bed height
  • improperly fitted or maintained wheelchairs.
  • Medications can increase the risk of falls and fall-related injuries.
    • Drugs that affect the central nervous system, such as sedatives and anti-anxiety drugs, are of particular concern. 
    • Fall risk is significantly elevated during the three days following any change in these types of medications. 
  • difficulty in moving from one place to another (for example- from the bed to a chair)
  • poor foot care
  • poorly fitting shoes
  • improper or incorrect use of walking aids. 

Read more at CDC.gov: Home and Recreational Safety/Falls

How can we prevent falls in nursing homes?

The best way to prevent errors is to design safety into the nursing home system.  Fall interventions include but are not limited to:

(a) Assessing patients after a fall to identify and address risk factors and treat the underlying medical conditions;

(b) Educating staff about fall risk factors and prevention strategies

(c) Reviewing prescribed medicines to assess their potential risks and benefits and to minimize use.

(d) Making changes in the nursing home environment to make it easier for residents to move around safely. Such changes include impletementing a toilet schedule, putting in grab bars, adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights, and installing handrails in the hallways. 
 
(e) Providing patients with hip pads that may prevent a hip fracture if a fall occurs

(f) Exercise programs can improve balance, strength, walking ability, and physical functioning among nursing home residents

(g) Vitamin D supplementation. 

Read more at The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality 

Any precaution that residents in nursing homes and their families can take to prevent falls should be adhered to. Falls are the number one cause of injury and fatalities for elderly people and the best solution is to do everything possible to make sure do not happen in the first place.

Download our Free Brochure: Guide to Nursing Homes
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Nursing home abuse and neglect can result in a variety of injuries and potentially fatal medical conditions. If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a fall in a nursing home, please contact us at Edwards & Ragatz, P.A. at (800)366-1609 or https://www.edwardsragatz.com

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