Maryland has laws in place to hold nursing home staff accountable for preventable falls. Nursing home supervisors must implement risk reduction strategies and ensure staff are always attentive to the needs of their patients.
Evaluate how much assistance a client needs
Some people will require more help getting in and out of their wheelchairs. The nursing home staff should know how much assistance each client needs and always provide it. Be aware that someone may need more assistance if their health deteriorates. If a client has fallen despite the staff following all precautions, then this is a sign that they may need more assistance moving forward.
Use a drop seat
Drop seats reduce nursing home falls because they help prevent the client from slipping forward. This type of seat has a slight incline toward the back rather than a flat surface.
Remind clients to ask for help
Nursing home staff should regularly remind clients to ask for help if they need assistance getting in or out of their wheelchairs. Many people feel scared of asking for help too often because they don’t want to feel like a burden.
Give clients a reacher
Reachers are a tool that clients can use to grab items off the floor, so they do not have to bend over or stretch to retrieve them. You can store the Reacher on the back of their wheelchair if they have the flexibility to reach it. If they’re lacking in flexibility, then physical therapy may help them develop the necessary movement for grabbing the reacher and putting it back.
Adjust the furniture in the room
Analyze the shelves and other furniture to determine if any changes can be made to better help the patient. The patient might have trouble reaching items that are too high or too low.
Most nursing home falls are preventable. It is in the best interest of both patients and staff to make sure all necessary supports are in place to ensure safety.