Sept. 21-25 is Fall Prevention Awareness Week. How might you increase awareness and prevent falls in your long-term post-acute care facility?
Start by assessing your falls management program. The Falls Management Program: A Quality Improvement Initiative for Nursing Facilities (available on the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality website) provides a self-assessment tool that offers a thorough evaluation of your existing program, highlighting areas for performance improvement in your QAPI program.
This same resource includes inspection lists for wheelchairs, walkers and canes. Ensuring that the equipment used by the residents is in good working condition is an excellent fall prevention measure. A best practice shared by one facility as part of their fall management program is a review of the wheelchair inspection checklist by environmental service staff during the regular cleaning performed on residents’ wheelchairs. Anything in need of repair is marked for maintenance to fix before the wheelchair is returned to the resident to prevent accidents and falls.
Preventing future falls relies on a good understanding of the underlying cause of previous falls. The best practice for this is a deep analysis of the root causes. An excellent resource to support this is the Oregon Patient Safety Commission, The Nursing Home Expert Panel’s Fall Investigation Guide Toolkit: How-To Guide. Comagine Health used this guide to support facilities during a fall prevention project with a small group of long-term post-acute care centers. Posters outlining potential root causes are available on the website specific to:
- The fall investigation
- Environment and equipment
- Resident-specific characteristics
If you have any questions about falls prevention strategies in the LTPAC setting, please reach out to Comagine Health Senior Improvement Advisor Donna Thorson.
For falls prevention strategies in the outpatient setting, read our article here.