Top 5 Ways to Reduce Falls in Senior Living Communities

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.

Senior Fall Prevention

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.

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.

These are the 5 tips recommended to help minimize senior resident falls:

  1. Know which residents are prone to falling. Those that have fallen before, for example, are 1.5 – 6.7 times more likely to fall, according to Bell and Sidelinker.
  2. Know which residents have cognitive impairment. Those who suffer from forms of dementia are more likely fall based on cognitive reasoning related to daily activities and balance.
  3. Know which residents have diabetes. Diabetes can be rather debilitating in tandem with old age. Those who suffer from diabetes may be predisposed to foot and leg injuries or may not have as good of balance as they compensate for other health conditions.
  4. Monitor female residents. Female residents are, statistically, more likely to fall so they should be monitored more closely.
  5. Start a resident workout plan. Many senior exercise programs have proven to be effective in helping to manage falls. The intervention has caused a 30 percent decrease in falls and a 37 percent decrease in falls resulting in an injury. The program is effective in part because of its continuum of care. 50 workout hours delivered within six months of integrated day-to-day senior living has show to be the most effective amount of exercise to help reduce resident falls.

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