FALLS ! FALLS ! FALLS !

 
The statistics are awesome.. meaning unbelievable or daunting.
 
Look at those statistics… falls happen so fast and can do so much damage to an elderly person, especially one with some form of dementia.
 
Dementia patients don’t necessarily understand the pain they are experiencing following a fall or when a fracture occurs. If they are transported to an emergency room by ambulance and require hospitalization, the changes of environment can be devastating for them. Think about the noise, the bright lights, the overhead paging system, multiple voices, rotating shifts, sirens, etc. that they hear and see and don’t understand what they all mean.
 
If a break has occurred, rehabilitation can be so stressful as they have difficulty following the directions of the physical, occupational or speech therapist and certainly can’t do their exercises on their own.  With most insurance programs, patients can continue in therapy as long as they are “making progress.” If they are not making progress, they must be discharged from the particular service.
If a loved one is living “at home” there are several things you can do to diminish the risk of falls:

1) Remove all scatter rugs from the home in all rooms.

2) If using a bath mat, leave it on the floor only when the patient is in need of it.

3) Remove stools and coffee tables that minimize the space available for someone to walk from point A to point B.

 

4) Make sure there are hand railings inside and outside the home.

5) Secured rubber mats on wooden steps or concrete steps and make a huge difference in steps being a risk factor.

6) Make sure hallways and rooms are well lit.

 

7) Canes and walkers can be of great assistance, but they can also be a hazard if a dementia patient is not capable of remembering how to use the item or doesn’t know how to use it safely.

8) Patients should wear tie shoes, not floppy slippers, clogs or shoes where the heal has been worn down so it acts as a clog.

9) Walking on wet bathroom or kitchen floors is a problem.

 

10) Steps give way to outdoor ramps to minimize falls as well.

11) Dogs and cats can be a tremendous risk factor because of their movement and being “under foot.”

 

Issues around balance, forgetfulness, medications or a patient’s inability to understand directions or words puts patients at much greater risk for falling. Generally, if elderly patients have a fall they seldom will bounce back to their “base line” where they were before the fall occurred.  Every precaution needs to be taken to protect them as much as possible.

 

Source:  www.nextmonitoring.com and Ray Melanson’s FB post

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