Fall prevention is a big deal in nursing homes. The residents in nursing homes are often at risk of falls, especially when they are taking medications that make them dizzy or when they have poor balance.
When the nursing home knows that someone has a history of falls, it’s the home’s responsibility to start taking action to prevent falls. The staff should be aware of common issues that could lead to falls, such as:
- Muscle weakness
- Gait problems
- Hazards in the nursing home, like wet floors
- Medication side effects
- Trouble with movement
- Improper/incorrect use of walking aids
These and other problems may lead to falls, which is why the staff should take an active interest in eliminating hazards and mitigating fall risk with the right tools.
How can a nursing home intervene to prevent falls?
A nursing home can intervene to prevent falls by identifying the patient’s risk and then addressing those risks directly. For example, if one of the residents has poor balance and cannot move from the bed to a wheelchair or the restroom on their own, the staff may need to place fall prevention alarms in the person’s bed to alert them to when the person sits up or is attempting to get out of bed. Similarly, they could give the individual a call button to let the nurse’s station know that they need to get up.
For another person, a change in medications or increase in fluids may help minimize the side effects that make them dizzy or put them at a greater risk of falling.
Why do falls keep happening in nursing homes?
Sometimes, falls happen due to neglect or other issues in the nursing home. Poor staffing may make it difficult for someone to respond to the call light to help someone get to the restroom. Being overwhelmed by a patient who has called multiple times may lead someone to neglect to check on them again. These and other problems have to be addressed, because if someone is hurt, they may have a case against the nursing home for negligence or malpractice leading to their injuries.