When adults reach 65 years old, some of the most common injuries that occur are due to accidental falls. More concerning is that nursing home residents experience twice as many falls than other older adults. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has implemented a program to help long-term care (LTC) facilities and providers prevent falls. This program is called STEADI (Stopping Elderly Accidents, Deaths and Injuries).
While adults living in LTC facilities may have more health problems than others, the CDC has stressed that falls “are not an inevitable part of aging.” Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities play an important role in caring for older adults and are responsible for reducing the devastating injuries associated with falls. This means that falls can and should be prevented.
The STEADI program asks care providers and LTC facilities to make these three questions a routine part of each resident’s initial assessment:
- Have you fallen in the past year?
- Do you feel unsteady when standing or walking?
- Do you worry about falling?
Should a resident answer "yes" to any of these key questions, the resident is considered at an increased risk of falling. Once this is known by the facility, the resident’s care plan should be adjusted so that certain measures to prevent falls can be taken.
These measures can include:
- Reviewing and managing any medications linked to falls.
- Making recommendations for physical therapy, gait assistance equipment or supplements to improve bone, muscle and nerve health.
- Providing assistance with walking as needed.
LTC facilities have a duty to provide residents with reasonable care, and that includes taking all available measures to prevent falls. Should the facility fail in this duty, victims and their families may hold the facility liable for neglect and any injuries or wrongful deaths that occur as a consequence.
If you or a loved one resides in a nursing home or other LTC facility, or are in the process of selecting one, ask whether the facility implements the CDC’s STEADI program. You can find a Tool Kit that contains resources and tools on the CDC website.
Hupy and Abraham has experience dealing with complicated nursing home abuse and neglect cases, including those regarding resident falls. For more information, please download our free Guide for Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect Victims here.