I’ve heard all week long that Mom keeps falling. I’ve heard countless stories that tell horrific descriptions of Mom falling. They range from Mom fell down to the floor on purpose to Mom’s legs gave out and she tumbled down to the floor. Whatever the cause of the fall is. Falls in the elderly population are serious and must be taken seriously. Mom may not have any injuries now, but if she keeps falling she is bound to have some injuries, at some point. According to the CDC data on falls, falls are the number one cause for TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). This is why we must take immediate steps to eliminate the risk of any falls. Let’s look at some of the causes of falls in the elderly population:
- Poor balance and coordination
- Muscle weakness
- Illnesses such as urinary tract infections
- Visual disturbances
- Environmental conditions such as furniture or rugs
- Purposeful falls (yes purposeful falls)
My deepest desire is that we realize that most falls are preventable and that we start to take immediate steps to decrease the risk of it happening. First off, any falls that occur rather intentional or not must be handled the same way. Always, always show care and compassion to any individual that fell. You want to ask questions about pain or discomfort. Show that you care by asking if the individual is ok. Next, seek medical attention immediately for injury. Don’t hesitate to call 911 if needed. This is what they are there for. Secondly, once you have determined that he/she is okay and does not need medical attention. Then you can work to determine the cause of the fall. The person who fell is the first source of information. Ask the question, how did you fall? Listen to the individual that fell and consider what they are telling you. Did he/she trip over something? If so, what was the item? Untied shoelaces, poor fitting shoes, displaced furniture, rugs etc. Does a medical condition exist that caused this incident? I recommend you consult with the individual’s Physician in all cases of falls. Be sure to make the Physician aware of the fall even if an injury is not present. The Physician is a part of the medical team that should be notified of any falls that occur to assist with managing care.
During my career, of working with the elderly and working to eliminate fall risks. One thing that is evident, is the elderly need support to eliminate barriers and risks to falls. Some stubborn natures of our elderly population that refuse to participate in some fall reduction plan. Can hinder our ability to eliminate risks to falls, but there are ways to work around them as well. In any case, approaching the situation with mutual respect, education, compassion and a partnership approach almost always lends footage to fall reduction. We are here to help make homes as safe as possible. We offer no guarantees to totally eliminate falls, as no one can. Our goal is to reduce the risk of falls as much as possible. We accomplish this by first completing a home safety assessment. The assessment allows us to identify environmental risks that increase the chances of falls. Our team will work diligently and swiftly to eliminate these factors once identified. Secondly, we partner with the patient, family and other clinicians if necessary to ensure all areas of medical necessity are covered. Third, our fall detection plan allows monitoring of and partnering with you to increase awareness in the home. Let’s be relentless in protecting our elderly population. Let’s work together to put in place a fall reduction strategy. Call us 314-649-5586 about our campaign #preventmomfromfalling.
MBA, BSN RN