The risk of falls and fall-related injuries increases with age. As well as injury, a fall may lead to avoidance of daily activities, social isolation and lowered quality of life.
Fall prevention is an important focus in nursing homes. Most facilities provide staff education on fall prevention to increase awareness and promote a culture of safety..
Falls in nursing home settings and other residential care facilities can result in moderate and serious injuries such as bone fractures, dislocations, head injury, sprains and bruising. Even when the injury is not serious the consequences can be dire. The resident may lose confidence when walking and develop a ‘fear of falling’ which leads to a sedentary way of life and ensuing functional decline. Here are some personal risk factors to observe:
Environment hazards are often involved in falls by older people. Stairs without handrails, poorly signed directions, overhanging bushes in the garden. Be vigilant of these and other potential hazards such as:
As part of the interdisciplinary team, Leisure & Health coordinators and other Activities staff can play an important role in supervising, noticing and reporting ‘at risk’ residents in the recreation area.
Some measures to help prevent falls are:
There are several activities that can help residents to gain fitness and reduce the risk of falling. Low impact aerobic activities are suitable. You may try activities like Wi Fi games, outdoor activities, exercises and movement to music, seated balance fitness sessions and more such as:
Finally, if a resident falls in the recreation area follow your facility’s protocol. Make sure the person is as comfortable as possible before calling clinical staff. A small pillow under the head and someone holding his or her hand while waiting for help to arrive.