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3 Steps to Prevent Falls in Seniors


Why are seniors falling when we have access to so many tools for prevention? As much as it is the manager's (administrators/director's) job to ensure that employees are aware of the safety policy in the facility,

it is so much more than handing over a policy and procedure handbook.

Here are three steps you don't usually hear about when creating a safe environment for seniors:

1. Create a culture around senior safety.

Senior safety should be part of your mission statement.

As often as you talk about your mission, (which hopefully is often!), you should be talking about their safety.

"If you take care of seniors, safety should be a part of your mission statement."

2. Frequent safety teaching to bring it to front of mind.

Annual training is great, but safety teaching needs to happen monthly, at the very least.

If there has been a recent safety incident, safety teaching should happen right after.

Hold a debrief:

-what happened?

-what went right?

-what went wrong?

-and how do we prevent it from happening again?

And remember, create a system to ensure you teach new team members this information as well.

Falls usually happen with new team members, who haven't had the hours of ongoing training.

3. Frequent assessment of residents.

Every time you look at the resident, you are assessing for safety.

This goes back to your mission. Create a mindset in your employees that has them looking out for seniors' safety every time they pass by their room, of wheelchair.

Assess for things like,

"Are they slowly leaning forward?"

"Are they walking without shoes?"

"Are they unsteady while walking?"

"Are they taking a shower certain medications are given?"

Teaching employees which questions to ask will help them determine if a scenario is safe or not.

Every team member needs to be aware of what "safe" looks like.

A safe situation is objective, and not subjective.

One employee doesn't get to decide it is safe, while another "decides" it is not. A safety checklist can help prevent this.

Everyone should be on the same page of what safety looks like.

Teaching employees which questions to ask will help them determine if a scenario is safe or not.

We have a lot of tools available to us, wheel chair alarms, bed alarms, floor pads, and more.

In my experience, no one will use them if they don't know why they need to, or even how to use them.

And last but not least, tell your team the horror stories you have heard to ingrain an emotional "why" in their brain.

Stories are extremely powerful in helping information stick. Especially stories that evoke emotion.

If you don't have any, I'm sure they are out there on the Internet.

Whatever information/tools/resources you use, the key is to be consistent.