Preventing Falls in Nursing Homes
Falls or fall accidents are among the most common causes of injuries among seniors, including nursing home residents. Such incidents can result in severe injuries, recurring pain, immobility, and sometimes even death.
Falls can be potentially life-changing and life-threatening to the elderly. But they can also have serious consequences for the nursing home. When a fall occurs on the premises and results in physical injury to a resident, the facility owner could face a lawsuit or a liability claim. This could put the business and the owner’s finances at risk unless they have nursing home insurance.
Preventing falls in nursing homes
Nursing homes should implement fall-prevention policies and strategies to avoid the physical and legal consequences of falls. Some of the things you can do as a nursing home owner are:
Train and educate staff on fall prevention. Nursing home staff spend the most time with the facility’s residents, so they should be trained and educated in fall prevention methods and strategies. In addition, they should be able to assist seniors that require aid and monitor all residents to ensure their safety.
Eliminate potential hazards. Anything that could cause residents to slip, stumble or fall should be removed as soon as possible. This includes physical obstructions, throw rugs, slipmats, furniture, and any other potential hazards.
Think out of the box when dealing with these objects. What might seem like a totally harmless piece of furniture or decoration to you could be a hazard to elderly residents. Remember: prevention is always preferable to a cure.
Establish protocols for dealing with fall-related incidents. When worst comes to worst and a fall does occur, you and your staff should know how to deal with the incident. This involves thorough knowledge of first-aid and knowing when not to touch the individual and wait for emergency care personnel instead.
You and your staff should also know who to call when an accident occurs, whether a doctor, emergency personnel, or the resident’s immediate family.
Implement a company policy for dealing with falls. Finally, make sure everyone in your employ knows what to do to prevent falls and how to deal with them effectively. Everyone’s focus should be on the well-being of the residents at all times, and every effort must be made to prevent further injury while ensuring their comfort and safety.
How falls affect the elderly
Senior adults are especially vulnerable to injury when they slip and fall. This is because as people age, their bones become less dense and more brittle. Consequently, they are more likely to experience fractures than younger adults.
Older adults also take longer to recover from injuries and may experience more severe pain as a result. In some cases, they may even experience recurring chronic pain, sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Elderly adults may experience the following injuries resulting from a fall:
- Internal bleeding
- Back and neck rupture
- Fractured wrists or arms
- Broken hips
- Spinal cord contusions
- Skin lacerations and sprains
- Head trauma and brain hemorrhage
Furthermore, the trauma caused by a fall could cause seniors to exhibit behavioral changes such as:
- Avoiding regular activities such as housekeeping, bathing, and cooking
- Reluctance to go outdoors or leave home
- Increased dependency on caregivers
These behaviors could lead to social isolation and withdrawal if left unaddressed. In more extreme cases, the affected individuals could even sink into depression.
Insurance safeguards for fall-related incidents
Despite your best efforts, there is no way to guarantee that a fall won’t happen. After all, you can’t monitor every single resident of your facility 24/7. This is why, in addition to your fall prevention and management strategies, it is vital to have insurance coverage that protects you against potential liabilities.
Getting nursing home insurance is the single best way to protect your business and assets when a fall-related incident occurs. This type of insurance covers the cost of medical care and treatment for injured parties. Depending on the policy, insurance may cover all or part of the claims settlement and legal fees and expenses resulting from the claim.
Of course, nursing home insurance isn’t meant to take the place of safety precautions and effective fall prevention practices. Nor should it be a substitute for protocols and policies for dealing with fall-related incidents.
Even so, insurance is essential for ensuring the continued operation of your business and the protection of your assets. Coupled with implementing effective fall prevention strategies, getting nursing home insurance will help ensure your peace of mind.
About Midwest Insurance Group
Midwest Insurance Group is a risk retention group developed by Caitlin Morgan Insurance Services in response to the unique needs of the healthcare industry, particularly that of senior living facilities. With rising premium costs and difficulties in obtaining coverage from the traditional professional and general liability insurance market, Midwest Insurance Group represents a viable, long-term insurance alternative for the senior living sector, giving members complete control over costs and claims management. Midwest Insurance Group is reinsured with Lloyd’s of London, and A rated by Demotech.