Finding cause can help prevent nursing home falls

Finding cause can help prevent nursing home falls

(WSFA/NBC) - Picking out the right nursing home for your loved one can be a challenge. Even once they are living there, there are concerns.

"A lot of people come into a nursing home because they've been falling at home," said Nancy Leveille, the executive director of Foundation of Quality Care.

Leveille says all new residents should be evaluated for the many factors affecting a fall risk.

"It could be their effort getting in and out of bed. It could be their gait is off a little"

Understanding the cause can help prevent falls, but if a resident has dementia, they may not be able to remember safety recommendations.

"You would have to be sitting with them 24/7, one on one, to prevent a fall."

So the key is preventing injuries and that takes a little detective work from the staff. They have to figure out when a resident falls, and can a routine be changed to prevent falls. It may be as simple as more supervised trips to the bathroom.

What nursing homes won't do is put rails along the bedding to keep residents in.

"They can get caught in the side rails. They can get their leg stuck or their head stuck. There's more deaths related to side rails than there are from falls."

Restraints are also not an option. They're only used in medically recommended cases like when a patient is trying to pull out life-saving tubes. Health care professionals say if you're having ongoing concerns about your loved one you need to meed with an administrator at the facility and go over expectations.
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