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Fall prevention must be a nursing home priority

Nursing home residents are sometimes at an increased risk of falling. This is due in part to the normal aging process, but it can also occur because of the side effects of medications and environmental factors. Each person in the nursing home should be evaluated for their fall risk so that appropriate protocol can be established and followed for that resident.

Each year, between 50 and 75 percent of the residents of this country's nursing homes will suffer from a fall. Many of these residents fall more than once per year. In fact, the number of annual falls per resident is 2.6. Some of those falls, around 1,800 per year, are fatal. The question that might come up after learning this is what options nursing homes have to reduce the risk of the residents falling. In order to answer this, you have to look at the contributing factors.

Problems with gait, trouble with walking and muscle weakness account for around 24% of falls in nursing homes. Things like wet floors, incorrect wheelchairs, improper bed height and poor lighting are some of the environmental factors that cause 16 to 27% of these falls. Medication-related issues contribute to many falls. This risk is increased significantly in the first three days after a person's medicines are changed.

Fall prevention in nursing homes is a huge responsibility for employees. Some residents might need minimal help while others might need assistance each time they do simple tasks like going to use the restroom. Nursing facilities must have ample staffing to provide these critical services so that the residents don't suffer unnecessary injuries that could have been prevented. If a resident does fall due to negligence, they might opt to seek compensation for the financial impacts of the incident.

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