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Since social distancing and shelter and place orders went into effect, there has been a staggering 20% increase in falls for residents in memory care communities. It is important to keep residents safe, but these necessary precautions lead to spending more time alone and unsupervised in their rooms. Avoiding unnecessary EMS or ER visits from falls is more important than ever.
In the best of times, falling has always been an issue for memory care residents. In fact, SafelyYou’s community data reveals that 84% of falls occur in a resident’s bedroom and 85% of falls are unwitnessed.
To reduce the risk of falls in the bedroom during the COVID-19 pandemic, here are seven key tips to consider:
- Keep frequently used items within reach.
- Place mobility aid in best position for self-transfer; remove if unable to self-transfer to avoid cueing.
- Increase wellness checks for those at higher risk.
- Educate new staff on residents’ preferences and nighttime routines: lights on/off, TV on/off, toileting, showering, sheets, bed positioning.
- Take extra care to reduce clutter and ensure clear pathways in resident rooms. Remove and store items that are blocking pathways.
- Engage residents in common areas despite the limitations of social distancing. Click here for some great suggestions.
- Make time to comfort residents, who are feeling isolated and lonely and missing family visits. Even 2-3 minutes of non-task-oriented company will benefit residents. Less anxiety and agitation lead to calmer residents, and, hopefully, fewer falls.
These tips are a great way to get started on a fall prevention program.