As the aging process occurs, changes in the body such as vision problems, weakening muscles and stiffening joints can increase the risk of fall based injuries. Falls can be a sign of a health problem, medication side effects or vision impairment. Although aging is an inevitable part of life, there are a number of methods that can be implement to make nursing homes safer for their elderly residents. The following 6 steps are some recommendations from the team at HLS healthcare as ways to prevent falls from occuring in nursing home facilities:
1. Identify residents at high risk for falling.
This is particularly important for newly admitted residents. When a residence is beginning their stay it is important to assess the presence of factors that increase their risk of falls. Common health conditions often found in elderly patients that can lead to falls include:
- Low or impaired vision
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
2. Repair, remove or report tripping hazards.
Increasing the sensitivity of the entire staff to the potential for accidents is is one of the most influential changes a aged care facility can make. Clear reporting and education can assisting in ensuring that each employee plays a part in noticing, reporting, and reducing potential hazards. Potential hazards to note include:
- Loose carpet
- Wood floorboards that stick up
- Slippery floor tiles
3. Keep up to date with health checks.
Patients that are up to date with doctors appointments and are on appropriate medication for their conditions are at much smaller risk of frequent falling in comparison to those that are not. As well as keeping up to date with GP appointments patients should have ongoing access to the following healthcare professionals:
- Occupational Therapists
4. Building Modifications.
Building modifications like smart floors are a proven way to help reduce and detect falls in care homes. With the Elsi Smart Floor, caregivers can not only ensure that they’re are attending to fallen patients as soon as possible, but this state of the art technology also allows carers to see high risks scenarios such as irregular movements allowing them to intervene before hazardous scenarios occur.
5. Bright Lighting.
Inadequate lighting is another major hazard, which is often not considered. Nursing homes require more lightning fixtures or brighter light bulbs in order to make their buildings more suitable for residence. This is paramount in stairways and narrow hallways. Another consideration is the placement of light switches, the difference of placing a light switch that is reachable from a residence bed or just out of reach can make a considerable difference to preventing falls during the night.
6. Evaluate clothing.
Simple changes can be very effective. Knowing the patients that require glasses in your facility and encouraging them to wear them can prevent a falls from occuring. Appropriate footware without shoe laces and the removal of loose ropes on dressing gowns may also stop an accident from happening.
Unfortunately even when taking all possible precautious falls can still occur. To be prepared as well as having a fully stocked first aid kit, all nursing homes should have access to quality patent lifting tools. The Razier Mobile Lifting Chair is a portable, lightweight device used to assist patients who have fallen and need assistance returning to a seated position.
To find out specific aids for your nursing home to prevent patient falls, we welcome you to speak to one of our team at HLS Healthcare on 1300 931 893.