falls in nursing homes

A senior who falls in an assisted living facility can suffer disabling injury or death. Recovery, if possible, may involve months of arduous rehabilitation. The ALF may well face a lawsuit from the resident’s family. With these consequences, a fall prevention effort and comprehensive liability coverage become vital pillars of an ALF risk management program. Here’s a closer look at how to manage and prevent falls in nursing homes.

Understand the Four Ps

Preventing falls in nursing homes begins with attention to the colloquial four Ps:

  • Pain: Follow the pain management protocol in the resident’s care plan.
  • Position: Comfortably position residents who have movement difficulty.
  • Potty: Assist the resident with toileting when necessary.
  • Proximity of Possessions: Take care that walkers, eyeglasses, TV remotes, and reading materials are within the resident’s easy reach.

Because difficulty with any of the four Ps may provoke a senior to attempt movement leading to a fall, staff members focus on this list every workday. With these basics as a foundation, an ALF can focus on individualized steps.

Stress Multifactorial Prevention Efforts

Research indicates that multifactorial interventions reduce the risk of falls in an ALF. With these results in mind, ALFs should aim for highly customized care programs after thorough risk assessments. Exercise proved to be the most effective intervention, with the reduction of falls greatly outweighing the injuries from supervised physical activities. Prudent spending on exercise facilities is a wise investment for your ALF clients.

Promote Family Involvement

Family members undergo an extensive interview as part of an ALF admission process. While these insights help form a resident’s initial care plan, not every facility continues to tap this valuable resource. Family members can spot subtle changes with a resident that even the most dedicated nursing assistant or nurse will overlook. These changes may be a warning of heightened falling risk. As you work through risk management with your ALF clients, urge them to make family outreach integral to their fall prevention program.

Keep an Eye on Technology

While caregivers and family members will always play vital roles in fall prevention, high-tech aids are on the horizon. A decade ago, many facilities installed pressure-sensitive alarms in beds, chairs, and floormats. The effort failed to reduce injuries, and ALFs now use these alarms sparingly.

The latest generation tech aims to be less intrusive and more effective. Tiny wall-mounted cameras monitor resident movements. Artificial intelligence algorithms then process this video to memorize a profile of a resident’s typical movement pattern. If the resident’s gait deviates from the baseline, caregivers can be on alert for falls. The system can preserve privacy by displaying the resident as a stick figure on staff members’ monitor screens. Now in pilot programs, look for AI solutions to enter more facilities within a few years.

Fall prevention, as part of an ALF risk management program, requires constant and incremental improvements. Remind your clients that their efforts add up to reduced risk and higher life quality for residents.

About Connected Risk Solutions

At Connected Risk Solutions, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.