Counsel That You Can Trust & Depend On

How to Avoid Falling in Indiana Nursing Homes

Guy DiMartino Aug. 5, 2015

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates 1,800 people die each year due to nursing home fall. Additionally, it is said that 75% of all nursing home residents will suffer a fall in any given year. This statistics appears to be twice the rate of seniors who live at home.

Just because your loved one or family member suffered a fall at a nursing home doesn't mean the staff was negligent. However, if the facts of your loved one's fall seem weird or your loved one falls multiple times, your antenna should go up.

Nursing homes have a responsibility to determine your loved one's fall risk ,and then it must put in place reasonable precautions to limit the chance of a fall and/or limit the potential injury.

The First Step in Reducing Nursing Home Falls

The first step in reducing falls in Indiana nursing homes requires proper assessment of the resident to determine if he/she is a fall risk. A nurse will go through a checklist called a “fall risk” assessment, which is used to assess the resident.

A few of the fall risk indicators are prior falls, certain medications, dementia, lack of mobility, cardiovascular issues, and dizziness. Once a resident is found to have a moderate or high risk of falls, we move to the second step, and individual care plan with fall risk precautions.

Step Two Fall Risk Precautions

Safety precautions that can help reduce the risk of falls include chair and bed alarms and motion detectors, which alert the staff that your loved one is trying to get up without assistance. Additionally, there are grab bars and bed rails that also help keep nursing home residents safe.

These precautions will help keep your loved one safe when she is trying to get of a bed or chair without waiting for a nurse or aide to assist.

Step Three a Multidisciplinary Approach to Care

The CDC says a multidisciplinary approach can help prevent nursing home falls. The multidisciplinary approach includes proper medical treatment, nutrition, occupational and physical therapy, and environmental assistance such as adding raised toilet seats, lowering bed heights and installing handrails in hallways.

Step Four Bedrails or No Bedrails?

In the literature there is certainly controversy about the use of bedrails for nursing home residents there is some misinformation. A bedrail is considered a physical constraint and they can be installed and/or used with a physician's order. The general consensus is that the risk of death from strangulation by a bedrail is lower than the risk of death due to a fall in a nursing home.

CDC literature suggests that injuries from bedrails seem to be related to improper design and assembly of a bedrails.

Why Do Nursing Home Residents Fall?

According to the CDC, nursing home residents fall because of muscle weakness, problems walking, environmental hazards, improperly sized or maintained wheelchairs and incorrect bed height. A look at this list shows that a wide variety of interventions can reduce the risk of falling. Family, nursing home staff and the resident's doctor are all instrumental in preventing these injuries.