As people age, issues with balance, vision, and coordination often lead to falls that can result in devastating and debilitating injuries. Preventing falls in a nursing home should be the top concern of anyone who works with the elderly.
To prevent falls, all staff members should consider fall risk factors and ensure they follow a fall prevention plan if there is one in place.
Know and Understand the Risk Factors
While much of the elderly population may be "at risk" for falling, some factors may put a certain resident at a higher risk. It is imperative that all staff members know and understand the unique risk factors for each resident they work with to keep the resident safe. When assessing residents, fall risks may include:
- Medication issues- Some medications affect balance; all staff members should know which residents are taking these medications so they can take special precautions to prevent falls.
- Medical conditions such as Parkinson's, diabetes, epilepsy, and neurological disorders, among others, can cause seniors to lose their balance easily and put them at higher risk of falling.
- Dementia and Alzheimer's disease may increase the risk of a fall.
- Muscular weakness, arthritis, and gait issues also affect a resident's ability to stand and walk safely.
- Vision issues, especially those involving depth perception, can heighten the risk of a fall.
While there is no way to guarantee fall prevention, safety steps that can be put in place can and should include the following:
- Manage Hazards: Prevent and protect against falls due to wet floors, uneven steps, inadequate lighting, and insufficient supports and walking aids.
- Ensure Adequate Staffing: Staff with adequate fall prevention training need to be available to assist residents at all times.
- Ensure Adequate Support: Provide seniors with tools, tips, techniques, and equipment to manage and mitigate fall risks. This may include nonslip socks and shoes, grab bars in bathrooms, bedrails, well-maintained walkers and wheelchairs, and adding toilet seat risers, for example.
- Follow a Fall Prevention Plan: If the facility has a fall prevention plan for a resident, ensure that staff members follow it each and every time. For example, if moving a resident requires two members, one staff member should never attempt to move the resident on her own. This can cause injury to the resident as well as the staff member.
What should I do if my loved one suffered injuries in a fall at her nursing home?
If your loved one suffered injuries in a nursing home fall, be sure to speak with an elder abuse lawyer at the Law Office of Jason R. Schultz, P.C. about your legal rights and responsibilities. Establishing negligence and liability is a complex question of law and facts and you should get help from a professional.
Contact us today at 404-474-0804.