Nowadays, many elderly people prefer to be the patients of specialized nursing homes and be under control of professional nurses and doctors instead of being cared for in their own homes and create numerous challenges and responsibilities for their relatives. As a rule, nursing homes are the places where a high risk of falls is observed. In the majority of cases, falls could result in serious injuries including hematomas, head traumas, or tissue problems (Tinetti, 2003). Therefore, this program aims at developing clear fall preventive steps for the elder and is developed for the patients and the medical staff of an imaginary nursing home called “Florida Is Open for the Elder”.
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Fall Prevention Program Introduction
Right Step is the fall prevention program for the nursing home in Florida. The core of the program is the fact that falls cannot be avoided all the time. Besides, falls may lead to serious health problems and complications. It is proved that approximately 90% of all fractures are the results of falls in old age (Peeters, van Schoor, & Lips, 2009). Despite the development of numerous programs and guides for the elder, not many people are able to avoid the complications. The peculiar feature of this program is its development in terms of one nursing home where patients spend their days and nights, create and follow their own rules, and support the environment that is appropriate to them.
List of Interventions
In this program, there are five main interventions that matter:
- Medication control. Medications are defined as one the extrinsic risks to falls because of the possibility to cause drowsiness, mental confusion, or balance problems (Boltz, Capezuti, Fulmer, & Zwicker, 2016).
- Special hours for physical activities. It is wrong to believe that all elders should avoid movement in case they want to avoid injuries and traumas. Specially developed physical activities, outdoor walking, and even dances should be offered to the patients of nursing homes after a doctor’s consultation.
- Provision of comfortable shoes. Many falls happen because people of old age do not pay attention to what they wear. Nurses should consider this aspect and make sure that all shoes are sensible and appropriate for their patients.
- Physical exercises for the elder in need. Among the variety of exercises with elastic bands or strength/balance exercises, elder patients should choose those exercises which are interested and allowed to them.
- Healthy diet promotes health steps. The elder patients should follow their ration and make sure that overeating or starvations cannot influence their balance and movements that lead to falls.
Nurses and patients should be trained separately for the implementation of this program. It is enough for nurses to visit two lectures and learn about their roles in their patients’ lives, as well as their direct participation in patients’ everyday activities. Patients should attend a lecture about the possible contributions to their healthy lifestyles, the connection between food and falls, and the importance of movement in their lives. They should be informed about the relation of such concepts as physical activities, cardiovascular risks, old age, and falls (Zagol & Krasuski, 2010).
The main concepts in this fall prevention program are as follows:
- Falls assessment (communication with older adults about their past falls, their causes, and outcomes);
- Medication choice (patients should understand the possible outcomes some medications could have on their conditions);
- Environment (the success of the program directly depends on the environment offered to patients);
- The combination of physical and mental examination (nurses cannot follow their patients all the time, and patients may not tell about their recent cases of falls; therefore, nurses have to organize physical and mental examinations frequently).
This program should not cost a lot for a nursing home. A certain sum of money should be spent on elastic bands, balls, and other equipment that is required for the promotion of physical activities among older adults. The services of a lecturer in the nursing home could be free in case one of the nurses performs this role, spends their own time on researching the topic of falls among the elder, and shares the results with inhabitants of the nursing home. Personal attention, the enthusiasm of nurses, and the readiness of the patients are the main costs that should be spent on this program.
There are three main goals of the program. First, it is expected to reduce the number of falls among the elder. Then, the motivation of nurses and the variety of services they could offer to their patients should increase job satisfaction levels. Finally, patients are provided with hope and beliefs that they are safe and protected in the nursing home.
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In the program is initiated properly, the following outcomes could be observed:
- The reduction of traumas because of falls among the patients of old age.
- The improvement of communication between nurses and patients.
- The intentions of nurses to be educated and trained in terms of care they could offer to their patients.
Boltz, M.,Capezuti, E.,Fulmer, T., & Zwicker, D. (2016). Evidence-based geriatric nursing protocols for best practice. New York, NY: Springer.
Peeters G. M.E.E., van Schoor, N.M., & Lips, P. (2009). Fall risk: The clinical relevance of falls and how to integrate fall risk with fracture risk. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology, 23(6), 797- 804.
Tinetti, M. (2003). Preventing falls in elderly persons. New England Journal of Medicine, 248(1), 43-51.
Zagol, B.W., & Krasuski, R.A. (2010). Effect of motorized scooters on quality of life and cardiovascular risk. American Journal Cardiology, 105(5), 672-676.