Home Health Aide Guide to Fall Prevention

Home Health Aide Guide to Fall Prevention

Definitions:

* Fall – “An unintentional change in position resulting in coming to rest on the ground or at a lower level” (Missouri Alliance for Home Care).

* Fall Prevention – Identify patients at risk of a falling and planning interventions to assist prevention of falling in an effort to reduce hospitalizations.

Importance:

* More than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States [CDC].

* Falls, even without injury, often cause a person to develop a fear of falling, which, in turn, limits their activity [CDC].

* In 2003, there were more than 309,500 hospitals admissions for hip fractures [NCHS 2006]

How home health aides can support a successful fall prevention program:

1. Observe for and notify manager of possible risk factors for falls.

2. Report witnessed, un-witnessed, and near-falls to clinicians and managers.

3. Report home safety hazards such as poor lighting and throw rugs.

4. Encourage patient and caregiver to use walkers or canes if patient has a device.

5. Use and encourage family to use gait belts when patient’s gait (walking) is unsteady (Gait belts provides a secure and safe hand hold for caregivers and staff when transferring or walking patients)

6. Ensure proper use of adaptive equipment in bathrooms.

7. Remind patients to wear glasses and hearing aids.

8. Remind patients to exercise regularly, as ordered.

9. Attend agency fall preventions education sessions.

Some fall risk factors……..

> Age (>65 years old)

> Mental impairments (e.g. dementia)

> Female gender

> Past history of a fall

> Weakness in the feet or legs

> Walking problems

> Foot disorders

> Problems with hearing or vision

> Balance problems

> Low vitamin D levels

> Medications (especially drugs used for psychiatric or mood problems)

> Arthritis

> Parkinson’s disease

* The key to a successful fall prevention program is moving beyond responding to witnessed or non-witnessed falls to focus on fall prevention. Prevention not only incorporates an assessment of risk for falls, but it also promotes a proactive approach to fall prevention rather than reacting to individual falls.



Quiz: Fall Prevention

11. Fall prevention is more than just identifying patients who are at risk of falling. Patient- specific interventions are used to assist with decreasing the risk of falling and preventing injury.

A. TRUE

B. FALSE

2. Falls can affect the following:

A. The rate of acute care hospitalization occurrences

B. Patient injury rate and severity

C. Patients fear of falling

D. All of the above

3. Some risk factors for falls include the following except:

A. Age

B. Confusion

C. Walking problems

D. Past history of falls

E. Not having flu shot

F. Balance problems

4. Home health aides have a very important roles with fall prevention. Home health aides can observe patients closely for fall risk factors and report any falls or near falls the patient or caregiver may have mentioned during the visit.

A. TRUE

B. FALSE

5. Home health aides can encourage the patient and families to do all of the following to help prevent falls:

A. Report falls or near falls

B. Use walkers or canes at all times (if prescribed)

C. Remind patients to follow their exercise program as ordered by nurse, therapist or physician

D. Read patient and family fall prevention education material, if provided by the agency

E. All of the above

ANSWERS KEY FOR: Fall Prevention

1) A

2) D

3) E

4) A

5) E