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The Occurrence of Falls in Nursing Homes Can be Reduced With Proper Training, Sufficient Staff, and a Safe Environment

A recent study published by the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association on fall rates in Bavarian nursing homes provides helpful insight on preventing falls in Los Angeles Nursing Homes. The study showed, for example, that the fall rate of men was higher than that of women (2.18 and 1.49 falls per person-year respectively). Most falls occurred between 10am to 12pm and 2pm to 8pm. 75% of all falls occurred in the residents’ rooms and bathrooms while 22% were observed in common areas. Among all falls, 41% occurred during a transfer and 46% occurred while walking. Residents with less functional limitations have a higher fall rate at night, in the residents’ rooms and while walking. On the other hand, residents who have more functional limitations and need more care have higher falls during the day, in the common area and when being transferred.

Several important conclusions may be drawn from this study, which can assist the public in not only choosing a proper nursing home, but also in properly supervising the care of their loved ones once they are placed in a nursing home. First, residents who need a higher level of care have a greater risk of falling in the common areas since they are brought to the common areas without sufficient nursing staff to supervise and look after their activities. Second, the high fall rate during a transfer highlights the need for professional staff trained and experienced in taking care of residents and particularly trained in assisting with transfers. Third, most of the falls happened in residents’ rooms and bathrooms, which reveals the nursing homes studied were not equipped sufficiently and failed to provide a safe environment to their residents. All these issues reveal the problems plaguing nursing homes despite their legal responsibility to create a safe environment free of hazards and to prevent accidents.

In order to prevent falls, nursing homes must provide adequate staffing. In the state of California, nursing homes are required to provide a minimum of 3.2 nursing hours per patient, per day. Sufficient staffing is essential so that the residents can receive help and care instantly. The nurses also need to communicate efficiently and effectively during shift changes so as to ensure that residents are not neglected. Further, nursing homes should provide professional and well-trained nurses to their residents. Nurses should receive specific training on subjects such as assisting with a transfer and fall prevention. A skillful and experienced nursing staff that is provided with the necessary resources and training could definitely help reduce fall rates in nursing homes. In addition to the nursing staff, the nursing homes’ owner should also improve the physical plant by adding sufficient handrails and skid-proof mats to prevent the risk of falling, and ridding the facility of unnecessary safety hazards.

A nursing home is a place where people send their loved ones to receive special care, and in so doing place their trust and confidence on the nursing staff. Therefore, nursing homes should provide nursing care to residents in a professional manner and treat them with patience and respect.

If your loved one has suffered a serious injury from a fall in a Los Angeles nursing home, please contact us today so that we can help protect your loved one’s best interests.

The article “Epidemiology of Falls in Residential Aged Care: Analysis of More Than 70,000 Falls From Residents of Bavarian Nursing Homes” is available for purchase at Pubmed.