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How can nursing home staff identify and eliminate fall risks?

There are so many reasons that a nursing home resident may fall, it could be difficult to imagine preventing every incident. Still, if your loved one is in a California nursing facility, you want to know that staff is doing everything possible to eliminate fall risks.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a falls management program can improve fall response and ensure that those who do fall receive the care they need to recover. One of the primary purposes of this type of program should be to identify fall causes and eliminate the risk of future falls.

Naturally, the staff should first be concerned with the condition of the resident who falls. Even while assessing the resident, though, the people who respond should be looking for possible causes. Medical conditions or medication are often risk factors that cause falls, and these may be revealed during the physical evaluation. For example, the resident may have high or low blood pressure, medication that causes dizziness, high or low blood sugar, an infection or some other health condition.

Staff should record all the circumstances present at the time of the fall, including the following:

  • Day, time and location
  • Type of fall and possible cause
  • Activity at the time of fall
  • Staff present
  • Footwear and mobility aids in use
  • Restraint, side rail and alert use

Even when a resident nearly falls, falls a short distance or is caught by a staff member and sustains no injury, the situation should be treated as a fall for the purposes of the program.

This general information is provided for educational purposes and should not be considered legal or medical advice.

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