In an 80-bed nursing home, an average of 400 falls occur annually, 2/3 of which are not documented or simply not known. How to avoid this? What solutions exist?
Fractures, fear of falling, hospitalization: in the elderly, falls can have catastrophic consequences. The problem therefore does not only concern nurses, it is multidisciplinary.
Eric Krzeslo, CEO of MintT
« The cost of falls is not negligible. We estimate that the time spent by medical and paramedical staff dealing with the consequences of falls in a nursing home, including care, rehabilitation, psychological support and administrative processing time, represents a cost for an 80-bed institution of 150,000 € per year. »
What are potential interventions following a fall for an elderly person?
Each fall is different and must be analyzed, in order to mobilize the multidisciplinary team properly.
- The physiotherapist will begin rehabilitation in case of muscle weakness or balance disorders.
- The occupational therapist will help the elderly to manage their daily activities safely.
- The nurses or nurse’s aides have a role to play in explaining to the resident what to watch out for. A check-out checklist can be downloaded from this site. This teaching sheet covers the points to be observed when the nurse helps the elderly person to leave his/her room. Nurses can also ensure that the resident is safely installed at night by placing walking aids (walker, rollator, crutches, canes, etc.) near the bed in the correct orientation.
- The management supports its teams and can also decide to change the layout of the rooms if several falls are due to the furniture (bedside tables with casters, etc.).
- The quality-control manager analyzes the register of falls to identify and instigate corrective actions. The manager can also initiate a comprehensive fall prevention plan
What about bed rails
Oftentimes medical staff install bed rails to prevent falling. This is an idea that can be counterproductive in many cases.
Jérôme Laurent, clinical advisor at MintT :
« This is not necessarily always a good idea. You have to analyze the situation carefully and the resident’s risky behaviors. For example, we once observed, thanks to ISA, an incident when a patient was able-bodied enough to climb over the bed barriers. He managed to get out of bed without falling. However, he was unable to get back into bed, because these barriers prevented him. He eventually did fall down from fatigue and exhaustion. Thanks to the captured images that we reviewed with the medical team, we were able to understand that his fall was ultimately due to this preventive device ».