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Did you know that November is Fall Prevention Month?
Falls are a serious issue, and they are not a normal part of aging. One in three older Albertans will fall each year. Falls are the leading cause of injuries among seniors in Alberta, and in Alberta falls result in 28 hospitalizations each day.
Behind these statistics are real people and families who have experienced the devastating impacts that falls can have. So, what are we doing at BSF to keep your loved one safe?
Long-term care and supportive living residents are at increased risk for falls and fall- related injuries. The BSF’s Fall Prevention and Management Program is designed to reduce the risk of falls and fall related injuries based on best practice evidence.
Every resident who moves into a BSF facility is screened for fall risk. This assessment guides interventions and care. In addition, there are also universal fall precautions that are implemented in every room, for every resident, including:
Now you may be wondering, why are these precautions taken? Why is the bed put into the lowest position? Why are bed rails kept down? And why does it matter if mobility aids are in reach? Think of it this way: We want the bed to be at the lowest possible position in case the person falls. If they do fall out of bed, it is better to fall from a low height than a high height. Bed rails are kept down, because they can be climbed and they can also be an entrapment risk. We also keep mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and walkers, in reach of the bed, so our residents can reach them and get to them more easily. If the resident does get up without asking for help, we don't want them to try to walk a long distance to get to their wheelchair or walker and it is safer if it is kept right beside them.
If our fall assessment does show that your loved one is at a high risk of falling, we also have other, person-centred interventions that are considered, and those identified to be at a high risk of falling will have a "leaf" symbol attached to each of their mobility devices. Our nursing team will add or remove the symbol as the resident's status changes.
Some of our interventions for those identified as having a high risk of falling include:
At BSF, we take falls very seriously. After each fall, the resident is assessed for injury and before moving the resident, an assessment will be completed, including neuro-vital signs and a neurovascular assessment. If the resident is unable to stand, or if medical treatment is needed, 911 is called immediately and the resident is not moved until paramedics arrive.
Nursing staff will notify the family and physician of the fall. Once the resident has been stabilized and cared for, a safety incident report is created and a post fall monitoring schedule will be implemented. A post fall safety huddle with the care team is held as soon as possible after the fall to review what led to the fall, what requires following up, and if there are there any interventions that need to be implemented that can prevent further falls.
Once someone has fallen 3 times within 30 days, BSF policy is to review fall precautions, and referrals are sent to the interdisciplinary team. A review is completed of the most recent falls to see if there are patterns or to see if something has changed that could be leading to the falls.
For more information about Fall Prevention Month, visit https://www.fallpreventionmonth.ca/
In addition, BSF's Rec@Home program recently welcomed Melanie from the University of Alberta's Injury Prevention Centre for a presentation on fall prevention. Watch highlights from her presentation: https://youtu.be/TYcAgXRpSoY? si=C2NYBNywnbPx4au8
The Injury Prevention Centre has many free resources and information about fall prevention, including videos, a fall risk self-assessment quiz, activities and exercises to reduce your risk of falling, and more. Find out more at https://findingbalancealberta.ca/.