One of the biggest things that a skilled nursing facility can do to improve their quality indicators is to have a strong interdisciplinary fall reduction program. Preventing falls is more than keeping a high fall risk individual in sight or adding an alarm to their wheelchair. The reasons why residents fall are multi-factorial so it is usually not just one intervention that will help reduce falls. No one intervention will reduce the risk of falling. Fall risks should be examined holistically, considering both the intrinsic and extrinsic factors for that individual.
Some things to keep in mind for intrinsic (resident characteristics) factors – vision and hearing, muscle strength, medications, sensation, cognition, and chronic conditions that can be effectively managed by your clinical team. Some of the extrinsic factors are more controllable – cluttered rooms, low lighting, poor contrast between furniture and floors, glare from windows and shiny surfaces, anticipating residents’ needs and having appropriate adaptive equipment in the bathrooms such as handrails, raised toilet seats and contrasting surfaces.
A great resource for fall reduction education is the Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries (STEADI) program created by the Centers for Disease Control. Their website has a lot of information about fall risk assessments and interventions. Click here to learn more.
Did you know that Innovate Rehab & Wellness (IRW) has the highest number of physical and occupational therapists who are geriatric clinical specialists in the region? IRW therapists receive extensive education and training regarding fall risk assessment and fall reduction and can assist you in implementing a fall reduction program that will work for your facility and its residents. As Jennifer Bruursema, IRW physical therapist stated, “By providing evidence-based and individualized balance interventions, I have a greater sense of accomplishment when I improve a guest’s standardized balance score from a high to a low fall risk!”
Call (402) 682-6999 to learn more about how Innovate Rehab & Wellness can help reduce falls in your community!