Caring for adults living with Alzheimer’s or dementia can be very complex and requires a deep sense of understanding and patience. Direct-care staff must assist with activities of daily living and provide a safe environment for memory care residents, who are often confused and prone to falling.
Since this type of individualized care entails extensive training and a comprehensive fall prevention strategy, getting this type of specialized program up and running is challenging.
A great first step is to designate what we like to call a Fall Champion for your community. This individual will lead fall prevention efforts and play the following role:
- Monitors effectiveness of interventions
- Responsible for coordination of staff in-services and ongoing education related to falls
- Collects fall data and shares results
Since 94% of fall incidents in memory care communities are unwitnessed, and two out of three falls occur in a resident’s bedroom, it is crucial to uncover the root cause of the fall and take the necessary measures to reduce the occurrence of a repeat fall. The care team should conduct a fall huddle meeting as soon as possible after a fall incident. Attendees may include executive director, nursing, activities coordinator, maintenance, direct care staff and the designated “Fall Champion.”
Step 1: Review Incident Documentation
- Discuss last known activity, time of last wellness check, intrinsic/extrinsic factors, injury details, medical condition, prior fall history and review fall scene video or photo.
Step 2: Fall Scene Investigation
- Review placement of mobility aid, position of bed, resident’s attire and environmental triggers and furniture hazards.
Step 3: Determine Root Cause
- Assess the environment or equipment related to the fall, review current medication and timing, evaluate if prior fall prevention/risk interventions were in place, and determine if care plan is appropriate and if it was recently updated and followed.
Step 4: Follow-Up Actions
- Revise and update the care plan accordingly. It’s likely that the Fall Champion will need to conduct additional hands-on training for the direct-care staff for techniques, such as transferring a resident safely off the ground, placing a mobility aid in the proper position in a resident’s room and cueing methods for wheelchair use.
Fall Champions go above and beyond everyday to keep memory care residents safe and treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve. To take a closer look at some true “Fall Champion Heroes,” check out the real-life profiles of Anthony De La Rosa, Cynthia Waldron, and Nicole “Nikki” Brown.
Training a Fall Champion
Of course, these Fall Champions need the proper training so you can develop an effective fall prevention program. The dementia and fall prevention experts at SafelyYou just launched SafelyYou University, a free online training program to develop Fall Champions, who will lead fall prevention efforts in your community and even train the direct-care staff. To learn more about the free Fall Champion training, visit SafelyYou University.