Falls prevention in long-term care
Did you know that falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations among Canadian seniors? Between 20 and 30% of seniors fall each year! A fall is an event that results in a person coming to rest inadvertently on the ground or floor or other lower level. In long-term care, Bruyère uses an interdisciplinary team approach to preventing falls.
Falls prevention is everyone's responsibility!
Our falls risk assessment tool
This tool, with standard questions, allows us to determine your risk of falls. Our registered nurses complete this tool in your electronic record:
- within 24 hours of admission.
We will inform you (or your substitute decision-maker) if you are at low, medium or high risk of falling following this assessment.
We aim to put in place individualized intervention to reduce the number of falls and mitigate their effects. Here are examples of the types of interventions we might use:
- Assistive devices required for mobility
- Strength, balance or gait programs
- Anti-slip strips on the floor
- Falls prevention mat next to the bed
We track, document and evaluate the strategies put in place on a regular basis.
At orientation and once a year, all interdisciplinary team members take part in a mandatory education related to our falls prevention program.
To prevent falls, please be sure to:
- Tell the nurse or doctor about your medical history or changes in your conditions
- Call for help if you feel unsteady or dizzy and use the call bell should you need help or if you have been advised to do so
- Have the right mobility device for your needs
- Always put the brakes on your wheelchair or your walker when sitting down
- Wear the right footwear (no mule slippers, high-heeled shoes)
- Wear clothes that fit properly (e.g. your pants should not drag on the floor)
- Wear appropriate eyewear
- Keep your room free of clutter (e.g. rugs, electrical cables, clunky furniture)
- Keep your room brightly lit when you need to get up and move around
Remember, falls can happen to anyone!
To assist you in preventing falls, our team will, for example:
- Ensure your mobility aids and your call bell are within reach
- Work to reduce clutter
- Encourage use of eyeglasses, hearing aids and walkers/canes
What happens if you fall?
The interdisciplinary team will do a post-fall huddle immediately to help determine what caused you to fall. They will also try to determine if and where you are injured.
This standard evaluation will determine the next steps. This can include notifying the physician, completing different assessments or proving care for your injuries. The medications you take have an impact on the steps we will take.
The rate of falls is one of four priority quality indicators in long-term care.
The Bruyère Continuing Care Long-Term Care interdisciplinary Falls Prevention and Management Program guides us. We review it every year.
An interdisciplinary committee on Falls also meets every quarter. They review information on numbers of falls, discuss best practice interventions and approaches to prevent falls.