Preventing dangerous and potentially fatal injuries that result from falls in nursing homes, quite simply, should be at the top of every nursing home’s priority list. Unfortunately, nursing home residents are, in general, at a high risk for falls, be it from physical injuries, illness, or otherwise, and the consequences of what might seem like a simple fall to a person of normal health can have severe consequences.
This is why, during the initial patient evaluation that all Illinois nursing homes are required to perform, upon a patient’s admission, one of the primary tests performed assesses a patient’s “fall risk” on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being an extremely high risk of falling.
The higher the patient’s fall risk, the more care a staff is required to devote to preventative measures such as bed rails, restraint devices, and, in severe cases, even alarms that alert the staff when a safety device is not properly in use — the particular policies and procedures tend to vary from facility to facility.
An interesting study, set to be released, suggests that what many nursing home reform advocates have been stating for quite some time — perhaps the best remedy for falls is a well-trained nursing staff.
To summarize, a six-month study separated nursing homes into two groups — one group was provided with standard information and protocol provided to nursing homes about resident safety, while the other group was provided with what the article refers to as “additional training for designated nurses and supportive materials for nurses, residents, relatives and legal guardians.”
The results showed a much higher drop, for this latter group, in the use of restraint devices where staff, residents, and relatives were provided with more supportive materials. Reading between the lines, when everyone involved in a nursing home resident’s care knows what to look for, and how to respond to situations as they arise, the need for relying on simply restraining a patient is much lower.
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