Falls are a major safety risk for older adults. Many elements of aging increase someone’s likelihood of falling and getting hurt. The loss of bone density as people age contributes to the likelihood of a serious injury when someone falls. Reduced muscle mass also makes it harder for people to stop themselves when they fall. When people experience spinal compression into age, their center of gravity can even change, which may increase their likelihood of falling and getting hurt.
For many families, a mild to moderate fall involving an older family member is a wake-up call about their care needs. The family may have to make the difficult decision to transition someone to a nursing home facility so that they have adequate support and can minimize their risk of a fall. Unfortunately, many older adults in nursing homes still end up falling and getting hurt.
In fact, some data indicates that their overall risk of a fall while living in a nursing home is one of their most pressing safety concerns.
Better staffing practices could prevent many falls
Inadequate staff levels compromise the quality of care someone receives. Maybe the nursing home only ever has the minimum number of workers required by law scheduled, which means that there aren’t enough people if someone calls in sick.
When there aren’t enough staff members present to meet the needs of residents, people could end up sitting for long amounts of time waiting for help to go to the bathroom or to get dressed in the morning. They may eventually try to accomplish these tasks without support, at which point they may end up getting hurt. The longer someone has to wait for a response to the request for support, the greater the possibility that the inadequate staff levels at the facility might lead to them getting hurt.
People get hurt when cleanliness isn’t the top priority
Sometimes, there are just enough people on staff to keep the facility compliant with the law and relatively safe for residents. However, daily cleaning tasks may often need to take a back seat to the basic needs of residents. That might mean that hallways or other spaces have spills or dirty flooring that put people at risk of slipping and falling.
Nursing homes could likely prevent the vast majority of falls by offering proactive support to residents and prioritizing cleanliness in all spaces at all times. A loved one falls and gets hurt, especially if it happens more than once, their injury may be a sign of neglect. It may even be intentional abuse, with staff members leaving your loved one specifically without support.
Fighting back against nursing home abuse is crucial for the safety and comfort of the older adults that you love.