When a senior falls and breaks a bone, it’s much more difficult to recover. In fact, hospitals and surgeries have been linked to a high rate of decline in the elderly, and in many instances—increased level of care for the duration of life after a senior falls. ALFA recently talked about the importance of educating people about minimizing falls at senior living communities, and A Place for Mom would like to spread the word.
My grandmother recently fell in her senior living community and shattered her hip. She had to go through reconstructive hip surgery and is currently suffering through physical therapy. She’s wheelchair-bound and her quality of life went from quite good, despite her dementia, to very poor in a matter of seconds; all it took was one fall. This is why I’m tuned-in to the topic of senior falls. I’ve witnessed a happy woman become sullen and depressed as she struggles to walk again.
A 2012 Expo Conference session, Translating Research into Practice: Implementing Comprehensive Fall Management Across the Care Continuum, discussed evidence-based fall risk management techniques to help educate senior living professionals on how to minimize resident falls. The presenters, Alice Bell, the Vice President of Clinical Services at Genesis HealthCare, and Jennifer Sidelinker, the Clinical Specialist in Physical Therapy at Genesis Rehab, suggested that senior living communities take a new approach to fall management.
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According to Bell and Sidelinker, fall rates are highest and result in the greatest number of injuries among those with fair standing balance and the ability to rise from a chair. And while rehab providers may minimize fall risk during treatment, once rehab stops; the risk of another fall skyrockets.
The presenters both suggested a long term strategy towards fall management that encourages collaboration between rehab providers, senior living communities and the senior living residents they serve.
In a nut shell, these are the 5 tips recommended to help minimize senior resident falls:
After learning this intriguing information, I know that my grandmother fit into at least 3 of the risk categories for falls. It’s possible there could’ve been an intervention if more of her community staff where aware of the resident fall risks and help tactics. Granted, accidents do happen. But wouldn’t it be nice if communities at least took these tips into consideration? And here are some other Senior Fall Prevention tips to help minimize elderly falls.
And parting food for thought from Bell: “We need to leverage our resources effectively. We need to ensure the right people are focused on the right things at the right time. Part of this strategy involves recognizing that every community level employee should play a role in fall management. Empowering community fall risk managers with guidelines and guidance and ensuring that everyone has the same foundation of information is a critical component of reducing residents’ fall risk.”