Preventing slip and fall accidents for nursing home residents

Posted on behalf of Stewart Bell, PLLC on Mar 19, 2012 in Nursing Home Injury or Death

Each year millions of elderly Americans, many in West Virginia, suffer a fall that leads to serious injury or even death. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the number one cause of injuries, death and hospitalization for elderly Americans. While older Americans are certainly more prone to falls, there are several things that can be done to help prevent and decrease incidences of nursing home falls .

Having adequate and better lighting alone can go a long way to ensuring someone who may have impaired vision can clearly see potential obstructions or changes in floor elevation. Special light bulbs can also help cut down on glare which can be disorienting and cause loss of balance.

The actual surface of the floor used throughout a nursing home facility is also a big factor. Floors should be level, well marked and slip-resistant. Likewise, transitions in flooring material, say from linoleum to carpet, should be minimal and well marked. Another important factor is how the floors are cleaned. As certain surfaces are likely to become very slippery when wet or newly washed and can pose a major fall risk.

It's also important that each nursing home resident is evaluated for fall risk and an individual fall prevention plan be established to manage their specific care. Residents who have impaired vision, dizziness or histories of previous falls are obviously at a higher risk and nursing home staff should have advanced care plans in place to ensure the safe transport of these residents.

A family member who has questions related to the fall injury rate of a nursing facility where their loved one resides should not hesitate to ask questions about the above-mentioned safety concerns. Fall injuries pose serious health risks for elderly residents and are very preventable with sufficient supervision and a fall care plan.

Source: WFMZ-TV, "Avoid slips, falls to stay out or ER," NewsUSA, Mar. 5, 2012

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