One of the leading causes of accidental injury deaths worldwide are falls. Over 646 000 people die globally as a result of falls and the highest fatality rate is among those of the age of 65 and older (WHO, 2018). Nursing homes and long-term care facilities constantly face this issue. In fact, the elderly residents of long-term care facilities account for over 20% of fatal falls (Schweikert, 2018, p. 7). In the following essay we are going to discuss evidence-based practices that contribute to fall prevention, educate the staff members and improve the quality of life in nursing homes.
It is gradually becoming a common practice among nurses around the world to use evidence-based programs in order to reduce the number of falls and avoid fatal outcomes for their patients. Such programs work based on certain theoretical frameworks and well-constructed ideas. A nursing home setting with a given amount of residents and beds, with a skilled nursing staff and an average fall rate can be taken as an example. The theoretical framework to be implemented is that of Lewin’s Theory of Change which presupposes a three-step approach:
- Unfreezing which refers to training the staff out of their traditional way of thinking and completing tasks.
- The moving or transition phase implies the execution of the action plan through coaching and support from the leadership team.
- Lastly, the refreezing stage is implemented to have the new model of carrying out tasks to become permanent.
The planning of a fall prevention program also includes the fall risk assessment stage. During this phase, the individual falling probability for each patient is determined (Schweikert, 2018). This is, in fact, the most important stage in a successful fall reduction program. A post-fall research or post-fall huddles are also crucial in order to point the main reasons that cause patients to fall (diseases, medications, inconvenience, etc.). It is also critical to have fall prevention interventions in place such as non-skid footwear, call bell close by, low beds, etc. (Schweikert, 2018). The aforementioned denote only part of a complex planning that eventually leads to tangible results in the decrease of falls in long-term care facilities.
Practice has shown that the implementation of such fall prevention programs in nursing homes has decreased the number of falls significantly. It requires thorough research of fall risks of a given facility and educating the staff more on evidence-based approach. Ensuring the safety of patients and reducing the number of falls will majorly impact the quality of life in long-term care facilities. Besides, the less the number of falls, the lower is the possibility of lawsuits filed against nursing homes resulting in their poor reputation. Human life is the highest value and it should not go under discussion especially in places where the subject of care is the life itself.
Schweikert, A. (2018). Implementing an evidence-based fall prevention program in a long-term care facility (Doctoral dissertation, Eastern Kentucky University, Palm Harbor, USA). Web.
World Health Organization. (2018). Falls. Web.