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How-to Prevent Elderly Falls in Nursing Homes

By Edited Oct 27, 2013 0 0

On both ends of the lifespan continuum are specific needs and considerations for those given populations of people. While young children rely significantly on their parents to help foster their mobility, elderly residents are often undergoing deteriorating physiological processes that interfere with even the simplest desired movements. As a nurse, the nursing home can be a haven for increased injury from falls if proper preventative steps are not taken prior to a fall actually occurring. Along with the physical damage that a fall can do to a nursing home resident, there are many other costs associated with falls that make it deserving of our consideration.

Firstly, every nursing home employee must realize that ensuring resident safety is something that should always be taken seriously. While the registered nurse is ultimately responsible for the assessment of a resident's risk for falling, a great preventative approach to falls can be had when communication is naturally maintained regardless of position, or job description. If a nurses' aide notices that a resident is dizzy in the shower, or has difficulty returning to their bed, they should convey that information back to their supervising nurse immediately.

Secondly, it is very important that one of the nursing home's registered nurses take responsibility for the assessment of their assigned resident. Not only should they conduct an overall head-to-toe assessment, upon admittance to the facility, but, they should also ensure that a thorough fall assessment is conducted as well.

Thirdly, based on the results of a registered nurses' fall assessment, they should immediately assign those particular residents, that are at highest risk for falling, to a room near the nurses' station. By doing this, more stringent monitoring can occur, and, hopefully, the potential for a resident to fall will diminish significantly. By applying this intervention, it will also afford a much quicker response in the event that a resident really does fall. The quicker the response and treatment of a fall, the higher chance of successful recovery the resident will have.

Fourthly, besides communication between staff members concerning a patient who is at risk for falls, employees should also have a strong rapport established with their residents. Nurses should ask open-ended questions and genuinely convey the importance for a resident to always seek assistance whenever they want to get out of bed. As part of this effective communication, the registered nurse should also convey the importance of using the facility's call bell system whenever they may need assistance with anything.

Lastly, a resident's general environment should be taken care of. Not only will this help prevent falls, but maintaining this general upkeep will ensure that fire safety is maintained, as well. Nurses and nurses' aides should also be sure to keep their resident's bed in a low position, with side rails up if necessary. Adequate lighting, throughout the day, should also be maintained so as to assist a resident's vision, especially when it begins to deteriorate with the onset of old age.

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