Fall Prevention Methods for Nursing Homes

Published on May 7, 2024 at 6:45 pm in Nursing Home Abuse.

Fall prevention methods for nursing homes

With an aging population living in assisted care facilities, falls are a major concern for these facilities. These accidents can have an impact on residents’ health and well-being.

Falls can lead to injuries, fractures, reduced mobility, and even psychological distress. Safety should always be the number one concern in these environments, making implementing effective fall prevention methods for nursing homes essential.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, about half of nursing home residents experience a fall each year, 1 in 3 of these will fall again. These falls can have life-or-death consequences.

At the Prince Law Office, we have seen the consequences of these falls in many clients’ cases. For that reason, let’s highlight what these long-term care facilities should do to keep their residents safe from these risks.

Fall Risks in Assisted Living Facilities

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among adults aged 65 and older. Additionally, falls can lead to other serious health problems, such as traumatic brain injuries and hip fractures.  For all of these reasons, nursing homes need to take preventive measures to avoid falls among elderly residents.

These falls can be caused by various factors. Once staff members understand these risks, they can create strategies for better prevention.

Many elderly residents do not have the physical mobility to move through cluttered hallways, misplaced furniture, or equipment in walkways. As they pass, they may slip and trip on these hazards. Even poor lighting, wet floors, and uneven surfaces, such as thresholds, rugs, and flooring, can also increase the risk of tripping and falling.

One factor is residents’ health. As people age, they tend to have weakened muscles or impaired balance, making them more prone to falls. Additionally, a lack of exercise contributes to muscle loss and instability, increasing a person’s risk of falling.

Medications can also play a role in falls. Sedatives, antipsychotics, and antidepressants can cause dizziness or imbalance. Along with that, other medicines for high blood pressure or heart disease can affect coordination and cognitive function.

When someone lives in a nursing home, it is often due to a medical condition. Many of these residents suffer from chronic conditions, such as arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, dementia, and cardiovascular issues. These health conditions can make them unsteady on their feet, contributing to falls.

When it comes to fall prevention, all of these care facilities need to implement protocols that address these common causes. By doing so, they can help keep their residents safe and prevent falls.

Preventing Falls

There are two ways to help reduce falls: individual and facility-wide programs. Individualized fall prevention plans should begin with a thorough assessment of each resident’s risk factors for falls. Nursing homes should consider using evidence-based fall risk screening tools, such as the Morse Fall Scale, to help identify these risks.

After the assessment is complete, these tailored plans can address each resident’s specific needs and identify certain risk factors, such as muscle weakness or medication side effects.

Fall reduction programs may also be implemented throughout the entire facility. These programs need to closely monitor high-risk residents and document any near-falls or incidents.

All staff members should be trained in spotting hazards in the buildings. Removing loose rugs and clutter, adjusting bed and wheelchair heights, and ensuring proper lighting can also help reduce the risk of falls. Even the installation of handrails and grab bars in certain areas can go a long way to prevent falls from occurring in the nursing home.

Another important aspect of fall prevention is medication review. Regularly assessing medications for potential fall-related side effects can help prevent falls. Also, nurses and other caregivers should encourage residents to wear non-slip shoes or socks. Any fitted footwear can help to reduce the risk of slipping.

Nursing homes should consider promoting physical activity. When programs are tailored to residents’ abilities, they can help strengthen muscles and improve balance, which can reduce the risk of falls.

A program can only be successfully implemented with a properly trained staff. All staff members should ensure that fall prevention protocols are followed. Education should include training on:

  • Fall prevention strategies
  • Awareness of risk factors
  • Proper communication with other staff members, therapists, and physicians

When assisted living facilities implement the above, they can take steps to keep residents safe from the risk of falls.

Unfortunately, not every nursing facility takes a patient-first approach. Sometimes, they may neglect the needs of their residents, leading to serious accidents like falls.

If your loved one has been affected by an injury or neglect in a nursing home, they have a right to remain safe and protected in their residential home. Reporting these incidents can help to improve the conditions of a home and help keep residents safe from abuse.



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