Preventing Falls in Long Term Care Settings Name Institution Preventing Falls in Long Term Care Settings The ageing process is characterized by a number of physical and psychological changes that determine the health outcomes of a patient in the long term care setting…
This study explores the prevalence and significance of falls in the long term care setting before discussing five nursing interventions that can be instituted to manage the problem. This is followed by an appraisal of the anticipated outcomes after implementation of the five strategies. The study draws from Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) Best Practice Guideline (BPG) and a number of peer reviewed scholarly articles. The Prevalence and Significance of falls in the Long Term Care Setting According to McCarthy, Adedokun and Fairchild (2011) present statistics that capture the seriousness of falls in the long term care setting. A nursing home containing 100 beds reports between 100 and 200 falls among the residents annually. Elderly patients in the long term care setting are three times as likely to experience falls in comparison to their community-dwelling counterparts. The scholars’ report further state that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries to individuals over the age of 65. RNAO (2005) reports 84.8% of all hospital injury admissions of individuals above the age of 65 are the result of falling. One in ten of emergency room visits among the elderly arises due to serious falls, while the incidences increase proportionately to age. Ferris (2008) attributes the disparity between long term care residents and community dwellers to the likelihood of having more comorbidities and advanced levels of diseases such as dementia. The significance of falls in the long term care setting is further underpinned by the contribution of falls to morbidity and mortality, decline in functional disposition and depression among other impacts on the elderly. Another perspective of the issue shows that a good number of falls may go unreported, which limits the capacity of data seekers to correctly capture the contribution of falls to elderly residents’ morbidity and mortality. Falls potentially cause more serious impacts and implications than the grim statistics presented. Thus, falls in the long term care setting are an issue of great significance in case the outcomes of long term care settings are to improve. Nursing Interventions to Prevent Falls in the Long Term Care Setting The seriousness of the issue of falls among residents of long term care homes makes it necessary to institute evidence-based and informed prevention strategies. The Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO) Best Practice Guideline (BPG) provides evidence-based strategies to prevent falls and thus will be the focus of this study. The first prevention strategy entails sensitizing the residents on the importance of vitamin D supplementation among other dietary, lifestyle and treatment choices for osteoporosis (RNAO, 2005). There exists sufficient evidence showing that decline in bone density among the elderly is directly associated to increased risk of falls. Elderly patients may have higher risks of vitamin D deficiency due to limited exposure to sunlight and skin changes associated with ageing. Bischoff-Ferrari et al. (2009) support RNAO’s position through their study indicating that vitamin D supplementation significantly reduces patient’s risks of falling. Their meta-analytic evidence indicates a reduction of 22% in falls among patients in the healthcare setting. The second prevention strategy involves assessing and modifying the long term care setting environment as a component of fall prevention strate ...
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