How to Minimize Falls in Long-Term Care Facilities

As people age, their mobility changes. One of the effects of a decrease in mobility is accidental falling. This can happen anywhere, even in a long-term care facility.

Long-term care facilities are the last place people think this would happen. After all, there is usually a 24/7 staff onsite. However, the staff cannot be with the elderly at all times. Instead, the staff can take measures in support of preventing falls in long-term care facilities. These measures are:

  • Ensuring the long-term care facility has a plan to avoid falls.
    • Training nurses and staff to focus on high-risk patients.
    • Encouraging patients to ask staff for assistance.

Planning for Falls

Falls in long-term care facilities should not surprise staff. Because falls often happen, the facility should plan to avoid them. This means ensuring patients wear non-slip socks It means removing obstacles that could result in a fall. And it means quickly cleaning any liquid spills that could cause a fall.

All falls are dangerous and could ultimately result in death. Recently, a wrongful death lawsuit was filed due to a patient falling. The patient had dementia and had fallen twice in the span of two months. The wrongful death attorney said that the long-term care facility had failed to prevent avoidable falls and failed to accommodate the special needs of the patient.

Focusing on the High Risk

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, fatigue—patients with these diseases or symptoms should be considered higher risk when it comes to possible falls. Patients taking medications which cause dizziness, drowsiness, or impaired judgment should also be included.

The patient from the wrongful death lawsuit would have met this higher risk category. He had Dementia. Not only that, but he had already fallen once before falling again two months later. We don’t know the exact details of the case. However, it doesn’t bode well for the long-term care facility.

Encourage Patients to Ask for Help

The elderly do not always want assistance. Many become set in their ways after decades of not changing. This includes not asking for help. However, there comes a time, especially in old age, when asking for help becomes a necessity. A decrease in mobility is one of those instances.

It’s common for bed alarms to be installed in long-term care facilities. Encouraging patients to use these requests for assistance can minimize any potential falls. For example, a patient can request assistance getting into bed. They can also request assistance getting out of bed.

Working on preventing falls in long-term care facilities benefits both the patient and the facility. All long-term care facilities should, therefore, create and implement a plan in support of this goal.