Falls are one of the most common causes of injuries in nursing homes. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) states that nearly one million falls occur due to factors like age, habits, and medication side effects. Falls are one of the most frequent types of injuries in nursing homes.
Falls – Leading Cause of Nursing Home Injuries
Residents of nursing homes face a significant risk of injuries, with falls being a primary concern. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), almost one million falls happen each year, with age, habits, and medication side effects being major factors. Falls are especially common among older adults due to age-related physical decline, chronic medical conditions, and medication use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that falls result in more than 800,000 hospitalizations and 27,000 deaths annually among seniors.
Falls among the elderly can lead to severe injuries. In the worst cases, they can cause death – especially when impacting the skull, hip, and spine.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has developed several steps to address the growing occurrences of falls in nursing homes. These five steps will help prevent falls and reduce the risks of injuries sustained by elderly residents.
1. Use Special Flooring in Accident-prone Parts of the Room
Some areas in a resident’s room can be sites for falls. These areas can include the areas near the bedside and the bathroom. Fall prevention is key. However, having special flooring in place is equally crucial to cushion residents should they fall.
According to the Annals of Long-Term Care, spongy flooring layered with polyurethane was effective in preventing severe injuries from falls. In one study, the average of injuries from falls dropped dramatically from such floors.
2. Review Medication Side Effects
Many medications like antihypertensives and antilipidemic agents (anti-cholesterol drugs) can result in light-headedness and impaired depth perception. These two side effects can disorient elderly residents, causing them to lose balance.
Hence, nursing home staff, like the nurses and physicians, need to review the side effects of medications and inform residents of them. This can make residents aware of the risks of falling.
3. Start an Exercise Regimen
According to the CDC, an elderly person’s susceptibility to falls is reduced muscle tone and bone density. With age, muscle fibers tend to atrophy, with a reduction in tone and bone density resulting in decreased muscle strength.
Based on the CDC’s recommendations, progressive exposure to physical activities is key to preventing falls and injuries. One way to mitigate the risks of falls and injuries is resistance exercise, which stalls the atrophy of muscles.
4. Vitamin D and Calcium Supplementation
Vitamin D and calcium are key for the development of osteocytes. These cells consolidate into solid pillars of bone that remain resilient with activity and proper supplementation. Vitamin D and calcium make bones stronger and have also been proven important to offset osteoporosis in elderly adults.
With vitamin D and calcium supplementation, residents will have the bone strength to move safely. Bone resilience also reduces the risks of fracture in the event of falls.
5. Reduce Excessive Noise
Noise has been shown to cause restlessness in the elderly. In noisy environments, elderly residents will move to a quiet area. Unfortunately, it is during this time that they risk falling and sustaining injuries.
Elderly residents are less likely to leave a quiet room. Hence, eliminating or reducing noise is an easy way to reduce the risk of falling during movement. This will also make sure that the elderly are startled less, reducing falls that happen due to surprise.
Do You Suspect Failure To Implement These Steps?
A nursing home’s failure to implement the above-mentioned steps endangers the lives of residents — including your elderly loved one in the home’s care. If you suspect your loved one is not in safe hands, call us today at 419-843-6663 or fill out our online free consultation form.
Kevin Boissoneault, is the President and Managing Partner of GT&B. He began his career at GT&B in 1992 and has built the Personal Injury section into one of the strongest and most successful firms in the region. His hard work and dedication as a compelling trial attorney and litigator has won many verdicts and settlements for his clients and their families. Kevin’s commitment to protecting those who have been injured through accident or negligence has brought justice for thousands of clients.