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Study Finds that Regular Exercise and A Hazard Free Environment Reduces the Risk of Falls in Nursing Homes

One of the most serious health risks facing the elderly today are fall related injuries. The National Safety Council estimates that people over the age of 65 have the highest death rate from fall related injuries. In a recent research article entitled “Effectiveness of Intervention Programs in Preventing Falls: A Systematic Review of Recent 10 Years and Meta-Analysis”(available on Pubmed), the authors attempted to derive scientific evidence of the effectiveness of newly developed intervention programs and to make recommendations to health care providers on the subject of fall prevention. According to the meta-sensitivity analysis used in the study, the results revealed that randomized controlled trials of fall-prevention programs conducted within 2000-2009 are effective in overall reduction of fall rates of 9%, with a reduction of fall rates of 10% in multifactorial interventions, and 9% in community settings.

The study suggests that besides implementing intervention programs to prevent falls by the elderly, health care providers can also help reduce the rate of falling by taking various preventative measures. For instance, the care providers can identify individual’s risk factors for falls. Further, the health service providers can implement intervention programs and physical activity focusing on lower-extremity balance and strengthening. They should also beware of psychological factors such as fear of falling and classify injuries which have occurred based on the International Classification of Diseases. The study reveals that nursing homes can actually contribute in fall prevention by taking effective measures for their residents.

Indeed, nursing facilities in San Francisco and San Mateo can help reduce fall rates by removing environmental hazards and taking other proactive measures such as installing lights in bathrooms and corridors as well as avoiding wet and slippery floors. The best way to prevent a fall, according to our experience, is to answer a resident’s call light when the resident signals for help, so that the resident does not attempt to get up unassisted. Prompt response to call lights, of course, requires an adequately staffed facility.

Furthermore, by creating a safer environment, the risk of falls is greatly reduced. In addition to the environmental aspect, there should also be adequate nursing staff in the nursing home to supervise residents and assist them with daily activities and exercise, which can strengthen their muscles and reduce the risk of falls. Simple physical activities such as walking around the common areas and stretching can strengthen muscles and improve the balance of residents, thus lowering the risk of falling. Moreover, some residents who experienced a fall before may become less active since they are lacking in confidence and fear falling again. The nursing staff and their families should show support and encourage them to do some easy exercises in order to avoid this fear mentality.

If you or a loved one suffered a fall in a San Francisco or San Mateo nursing home, chances are the fall was preventable with proper care, supervision and training. In case of a serious injury or death caused by a fall in a nursing home, contact our offices today to determine whether you have the right to file a lawsuit against the facility and its operators.