According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 36 million seniors slip and fall every year in the United States, leading to more than 32,000 deaths and three million emergency room visits. These injuries can reduce mobility while increasing the risk of premature death in seniors who live at assisted living facilities. Or, these falls and deteriorating mobility might be the reason they’re in an assisted living facility. Fall prevention for our seniors at assisted living facilities should be part of a comprehensive ALF risk management plan. Fortunately, many of these falls are preventable, underlining the significance of consistent fall prevention evaluations and tactics in senior homes. With a prevention plan for senior falls in place, assisted living facilities can enhance the health and well-being of those they care for.
Keep ALF’s Safe
Even in an assisted living facility designed to promote safety, environmental risks can contribute to slips and falls. Senior centers should require staff to routinely check for slippery or uneven surfaces, low lighting, loose rugs, and clutter that can ultimately pose a threat to a resident’s path.
It’s also helpful for facility staff to speak with residents’ families about the items they bring into their rooms to ensure their surroundings’ integrity and safety. From ottomans to area rugs, seemingly harmless objects and gifts can pose a risk to a resident’s health.
The Role of Exercise
Aging residents can engage in routine, daily exercise that is suitable and effective for their physical condition. Exercise helps to build and support muscle strength and can improve flexibility. ALF’s should aim for a mix of aerobic activity, such as walking and weight-bearing activities, to keep muscles trained.
For more resistance-based training, ALF’s can also set up water fitness courses, yoga, Pilates, and group fitness classes that strengthen the body and keep the mind sharp and the residents socially connected. These practices can help seniors feel more supported and informed about their bodies’ condition, enabling them to stay safe even among potential risks that may arise.
Keep the Education Going
Ongoing staff education regarding fall prevention is an essential part of ALF risk management plans. This helps increase staff confidence, awareness, skills, and ability to identify residents at risk of falling. Staff should engage in training on the slip and fall care process and available interventions used by a facility to prevent falls. This is especially helpful when using the right equipment to aid in fall prevention, such as bed alarms and hip protectors.
When designing ALF risk management plans’ educational components, senior centers should include discussions about specific medications, disorders, and diseases associated with falls within a facility. Education should occur at orientation for new staff and regularly (I.E., every three months) for current team members to keep everyone involved and updated on the risks and preventions.
While not every falling accident is preventable, taking steps to ensure senior residents’ health and safety is an important part of all ALF risk management plans.
About Highland Risk
At Highland Risk, we use our expertise and experience to provide insurance information and programs to those who serve long-term care and senior living facilities. Since 2007, we’ve been offering insurance and risk management plans designed to help our agents give their clients the ability to achieve continued growth while simultaneously protecting against loss, containing costs and increasing profitability. With three offices to serve you in Chicago, Illinois; Phoenix, Arizona; and Burlington, Connecticut, we do everything we can to make your experience with us as professional and transparent as possible. To learn more, contact us at (877) 890-9301.