12 Fall Prevention Tips

4 months ago
12 Fall Prevention Tips

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Falls are the leading cause of non-fatal injuries and 3 million people 65 and older are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries every year, most often because of a head injury or a hip fracture. Many falls can be prevented.

Key Prevention Tips – Older Adults:

Always use caution
Make sure you are cautious when on elevated surfaces, cannot see your surroundings clearly, or feel like you have the potential of falling.
Do exercises to stay fit, improve your balance, and improve your overall health.
Have your eyes checked
Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and update your eyeglasses or contacts if needed.
Make your home safer
Use guards on windows above ground level; use stair gates, grab bars and railings on stairs; keep rooms free of clutter on the floor; and have plenty of lighting in walkways.
Stand up slowly
This can help avoid dizziness.
Use a cane or walker
If you need more stability, this can help.
Remove clutter
Remove magazines, books, boxes, and extra furniture that can lead to tripping.
Tuck wires and cords behind furniture
These are often hard to see and trip hazzards.
Talk with your health care provider about medication side effects
Some medicines can make you sleepy or dizzy and cause you to fall.
Get enough sleep
Poor sleep can increase the chances of falling.
Avoid or limit alcohol
Poor dietary habits can increase the chances of falling.
Keep your bones strong:
Take enough calcium-rich foods every day, such as low-fat high-calcium milk, sardines, and cheese.

Most falls occur as a result of multiple contributing factors; therefore, managing the risk of falling begins with identifying the factors that contribute to fall risk. Some of the most relevant risk factors include:

History of prior falls
Chronic medical conditions
Acute illness
Impaired gait and balance, lower extremity weakness
Cognitive impairment
Changes in vision
Certain high-risk medications and polypharmacy

Environmental factors can also increase the risk for falls, including:

Inadequate lighting
Uneven or damaged flooring
Wet or slippery floors
Missing or damaged handrails and grab bars
Damaged or improperly fitted equipment, such as beds, wheelchairs, or walkers
Improper use of assistive devices
Inadequate supervision of the people living in the NF, including those who exhibit aggressive behaviors

A successful fall risk management program requires a thorough clinical assessment, with input from all members of the interdisciplinary team. Each person living in a nursing facility (NF) should be assessed for fall risk within 24 hours of admission, with an acute change in condition, and at least quarterly thereafter. When a fall occurs, the initial fall risk assessment should be repeated, along with a thorough investigation of the circumstances of the fall.

The care planning process requires development of person-centered interventions for minimizing fall risk and preventing fall-related injuries. Interventions should be based on the findings from the fall risk assessment and/or post-fall investigations, as well as the person’s preferences and goals. The use of any particular person-centered intervention should be based on the strength of the evidence provided by clinical evidence, such as best practice guidelines, clinical trials, or literature reviews. The care plan should also include interventions that are system-based, such as those that promote a safe environment (appropriate lighting, handrails, grab bars, etc.). The effectiveness of the interventions should be evaluated periodically, and the care plan revised as necessary to reflect changes in the fall risk assessment.

Implementing a fall risk management system using evidence-based best practice can reduce the prevalence of falls in the NF, while limiting the potential for fall-related injuries. The toolkit below includes evidence-based resources that will assist facility staff in developing effective systems for fall risk management.

Source: Texas Health and Human Services

We hope this information is helpful to you in the important work you do as a family caregiver.
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Jordan M
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