Assess fall risk easier with checklists
A risk for falls care plan is used in nursing facilities to assess the likelihood of falls in elderly patients. Falls are the leading cause of injury and death in people 65 years of age and older.
A fall risk assessment form is typically used to collect a patient’s fall history, medical records, and equipment used. The data are then used to make an overall assessment of fall risk. By assessing fall risk early, preventive measures can be taken to prevent falls among elderly patients both inside and outside of the facility.
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Why a risk for falls care plan is important for prevention
Conducting a fall risk assessment in long-term care facilities is an important preventive measure in health care to protect older patients from danger. Falls carry a high risk of serious injury. Based on statistical research, approximately one in three adults over the age of 65 living in a community has been found to fall each year, with women falling more frequently than men.
For nursing home residents, the figure is as high as 75%, due to their advanced age, vulnerability, chronic health conditions, and cognitive impairment. Indeed, as noted at the outset, falls are a leading cause of injury and accidental death among persons over age 65.
Injuries caused by falls include:
- Soft tissue injuries (skin, tissue (including vessels and nerves, muscles, tendons)
- Fractures (hip, spine and wrist)
- accidental brain injuries
Fall-related injuries are often associated with prolonged hospitalization in the elderly. Quality of life is also usually significantly altered after a fall-related injury. The mortality rate from falls increases with age in both sexes.
Risk factors for falls in the elderly include increasing age, medication use, cognitive impairment, and sensory deficits. Therefore, among other things, it is important not to conduct a risk for falls care plan just once, but to repeat it at regular intervals to reassess the situation and expand preventive measures as necessary.
Identify & avoid fall risk with checklist
As explained earlier, even one fall can pose a significant risk to the health of elderly patients. Serious injuries and subsequent problems can occur. Therefore, nursing facilities, as well as outpatient home care services, are well advised to regularly assess the fall risk of their respective patients in order to reduce the likelihood of a fall.
However, risk assessment can also occur after a patient fall. The outpatient assessment includes a focused history with emphasis on medication use, a focused physical examination, and simple tests of postural control and general physical function. The assessment attempts to determine the underlying cause(s) of the fall.
The following are the six most common fall risk factors that should be reflected in any risk for falls care plan:
- External influences (trip hazards and uneven floors
- Strength and balance problems
- Body posture and stride
- Visual impairment
- Medications, drugs, and/or alcohol
- Dizzy spells
Preventive measures in a risk for falls care plan
There are some measures that can be taken to minimize the risk for falls after the fall risk assessment, the following are some helpful steps that can help you minimize the risk of falling.
1. Detect risk factors
Often regular medical checks help to identify individual risk factors, such as vision problems and dizziness. Vision and hearing should also be checked at regular intervals.
2. Use auxiliary means
For your safety, the use of a rollator or walking aids is helpful. Existing aids, such as handles and railings, are strongly recommended.
3. Ensure a safe environment
Make sure that no puddles or wet spots are left behind when wiping. Put up appropriate warning signs if necessary. If possible, do not use carpets or rugs, or make sure they do not slip. Remove trip hazards and attach loose cables.
4. Install sufficient light
Provide good lighting, day and night. Mark step edges and door thresholds in colour.
A mobile application for the risk for falls care plan
A fall risk assessment tool efficiently captures the risk factors for older people needed to accurately classify fall risk. Identifying and tracking fall risk in older patients can be challenging, especially because caregivers already have a lot on their plate.
Lumiform supports risk for falls care planning as a digital inspection platform by providing the formulation tools for fall risk assessment. All patient data is automatically stored in the cloud, where it can be accessed at any time. We’ve compiled the best fall risk assessment templates to help you get started, and you can customize them as you see fit. Further advantages of a digital app for a risk for falls care plan:
- Collect up-to-date data on your patron’s falls risk after each incident. This makes the risk measurable and you can use data to constantly optimize your measures.
- Automatically create reports on fall risk from your collected data – this saves complete follow-up.
- Save time by making it easier to analyze all your data and more quickly identify areas that need your attention.
- The very simple operation makes it easy for nurses to record data and leaves no room for error. The app offers less complexity in documenting or completing risk for falls care plans than complicated paper or Excel lists.
- Fall risk assessments are completed circa 30%-50% faster overall, depending on the case.
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