Elderly Fall Injury Prevention Legislation and Statutes
One in three adults age 65 and older falls each year. In 2005, 15,800 people age 65 and older died from injuries related to unintentional falls. About 1.8 million people age 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls, and more than 433,000 of these patients were hospitalized. The CDC has published a checklist of prevention approaches that includes reviewing medications, increasing physical activity, modifying homes and vision screening. These prevention tips have proven effective at reducing the risk of falls among older adults. .
Increasingly, state legislatures are placing a visible role by establishing programs and appropriating funds to address these issues
Is your organization compliant with the government mandated fall prevention guidelines?
As a healthcare provider, you can assess your patient’s medical needs and recommend an exercise program based on their abilities. But addressing multiple risk factors appears to offer the best hope for a preventative strategy designed to reduce falls.
A very important component of the fall prevention program is home modification. Home modification can be as simple as removing clutter to minimize barriers to large scale construction projects to make areas of the home accessible to the patient for activities of daily living.
CDC’S RECOMMENDATIONS TO PREVENT FALLS
1. Begin a regular exercise program
2. Review your medication
3. Have your vision checked
4. Make your home safer
About half of all falls happen at home
To make your home safer:
· Remove things you can trip over from stairs and places where you walk.
· Remove small throw rugs or use double-sided tape to keep the rugs from slipping
· Keep items you use often in cabinets you can reach easily without using a step stool
· Have grab bars
put in next to your toilet and in the tub or shower
· Use non-slip mats in the bathtub and on shower floors
· Improve the lighting in your home
· Have handrails and lights put on all staircases
Most falls within the home happen in the bathroom. Forever Active wants to remind you, especially those with young children and loved ones who are elderly or have disabilities, that it only takes a few seconds to become injured or drown from a bathroom related accident.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports, on average 370 people of all ages suffer bathtub or shower related injuries each day in the United States.
The National Center of Health Statistics has reported that about 10% of all people over the age of 65 have difficulty bathing.
give users a sense of
security while still
maintaining their privacy
Toilet grab bars
come in many forms. Some are simple bars that attach to the wall next to the toilet. Others are more complicated apparatuses that provide a bar or toilet safety frame on each side of the toilet. In public restrooms the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) states that grab bars must have a width or diameter of 1¼ inches to
1½ inches and be the same distance from the wall. Most grab bars
that are purchased for home use also conform to these standards.
What are Common Problems and Hazards in the Home?
Home may be where we live, but homes are not always as livable as they should be. What do you think the biggest problems are for people having difficulty aging in place? Although problems can and do occur throughout the home, researchers and home modification specialists
agree that there are three main areas in the home that present barriers to safety and independence. These include: entrances, interior stairs and bathroom. As a result, the majority of home modifications are intended to facilitate activities and prevent accidents such as falls while getting in and out of the home, going up down the stairs and managing bathroom (e.g. toileting, bathing and grooming). This month’s focus will be on “Managing the Bathroom”.
Managing the Bathroom
For many older adults, including those who use wheeled or ambulatory mobility aids, transferring to the toilet, bathtub, or shower can be extremely problematic as well as a falls risk. While there is often insufficient space for individuals who use wheelchairs to maneuver or get close enough to fixtures, ambulatory older adults with gait and balance problems often lack support to safely lower themselves down onto a toilet or the tub or pull themselves back up from these positions. Having something to hold onto, such as a grab bar
, can help prevent a fall.