An Increasing Number of Nursing Home Patients are Experiencing Falls

Preventing the possibility of adverse events, like accidental falls, among patients who stay for a short duration of time in a nursing home may be challenging, but is necessary. These patients differ from long-term care residents in that they are in an unfamiliar environment, are not as known by the staff, and their care aims to increase independence. Research has shown that these kinds of patients are at greatest risk for falling and experiencing fractures.

A recent study reviewed the records of short-stay nursing home patients who had experienced their first hip fracture during their stay in a skilled nursing facility. The study found that between 1999 and 2007, 27,305 nursing home residents experienced hip fractures under skilled nursing facility care. Although skilled nursing home care focuses on optimizing the short-stay patient’s independence and helps to transition the patient back into the community, these facilities must strive to integrate fall prevention into their patients’ care plans. Moreover, nursing home facilities in which their residents have experienced falls under their care may serve as an indicator of quality.