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Prevent Risk of Falls

By Heather Brown
December 09, 2014

1. Take a good look at resident rooms:

  • Throw rugs must be removed
  • Minimize coffee or occasional tables
  • Minimize floor lamps and floor plants
  • Keep all walkways clear
  • Hassocks should be easily able to be moved by the resident if they are used

2. Doorways should be wide (if building a facility be sure this is done) so walkers and wheelchairs can easily move through them.

3. Non-slip surfaces on bathroom floor, tubs/showers are a must.

4. Handrails in hallways and bathrooms are a must.

5. All areas should be well lit as shadows can confuse a person with visual impairments. Have night-lights in the bathroom, bedroom and hallways.

6. Resident footwear is very important. Shoes should be fitted properly, have non slip soles and support the foot. May need evaluated by an expert for the correct shoe.

7. Keep floors dry and wipe up spills immediately.

8. Residents should have one physician monitoring all medications.

  • Keep current list of all prescribed and OTC meds for easy evaluation by the physician of possible side effects that could increase the risk of falls.
  • A resident on diuretics is more likely to fall due to frequent and urgent needs to use the bathroom.
  • A resident on antihypertensives, (blood pressure medications), can experience a drop in blood pressure on standing causing dizziness and increased risk of falls.
  • A resident on any anticoagulants ie: coumadin, heparin and even aspirin, can experience undetected bleeding after a fall. A policy should be written that anyone who falls and hits his or her head must be sent to the Emergency Room following a fall. A subdural hematoma can be checked for at the ER. This measure protects the facility from negligence.

9. Regular exercise focusing on muscle strengthening, balance, and flexibility are excellent for all elderly. Encourage activity department to have exercise program daily.

10. If you have physical therapy in your facility, have them evaluate every resident on admission for the likelihood of falls and have them evaluate a resident after every fall. Have PT evaluate for proper equipment and teach proper use of equipment to the resident and the staff.

11. Have a resident’s eyes checked at least yearly.

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