The elderly are a very vulnerable group of people in many ways. The signs of a vulnerable population is being at risk for health problems (de Chesnay & Anderson(2012)). A few things that the elderly are susceptible to and being pone to is falling. Falling can result in a wide spectrum of injuries from fractures to chromic pain. To lower the quality of life and increased morbidity(Karlsoon, Manusson,von Schewelov & Rosengren(2013)). Nurses can strive strive to reduce falls in the long tern care setting. This paper will go over the hazards of falls and what we can do as nurses can do to recognizing risks and prevent falls in residents in order to go bypass injuries.
Hazardes Falls in the Elderly
Falls are the most dangerous for any age group. They lead to injuries from bruising to morbidity related falls are increased. Falls are the top cause of death by unintentional injury in older adults(Healthy People 2020). Falls add to the 23% of the injury-related deaths in those over 65 and 34% are those over 85 years of age (von Schewelov & Rosengren(2013)). In the efforts of trying to raise awareness of all the issues, healthy people 2020 include goals, improving the health, functions and quality of life of the elderly adults. Reducing the rate of visits to emergency departments that stem from falls(“Healthy People 2020, n.d.). In order to meet these goals and promote quality of life, nurses must relies the hazards of falls and to educate the patients an colleagues in preventing as well as reducing injuries.
Recognizing Risk Factors
When nurses understand how important falls are to and older adult and there quality of life. Nurses can better understand their roles in prevention . Also meeting the standers of our long term care population. Prevention starts when with understanding the risk. Elderly residents have lowered safety awareness and gait instability(“mayo clinic(1998-2014)). Nurses are typically not aware of these safety faults and need those that work close to them to help fell in the gaps. They also must be aware of the sigs of cognitive impairment. When an elderly person is forgetful and they are not able to recall that they use assisting devices for daily activities. They may also have sensory impairments such as blurred eyesight and harder time hearing (“mayo clinic”(1998-2014)). Nurses are responsible for keeping walkways clear of clutter and safe so the patient can walk. Monitoring medication that inhibit cognition and balance that increase fall risk help the nurse meet fall prevention goals. Antihypertensive drugs,diuretics,stol softeners, and bensodiaxapines all higher the incidencts of a falls and are the common medications for elderly in long tern care facility(Karlsson,Magnusson(2013)). Being aware of these concerns brings the importance of the nurses role in meeting the needs and improving quality of life for the elderly.
Assisting in Prevention
Knowing the risk that goes with falls is a large portion of prevention. There are also other factors that the nurses can do to protect the safety of the elderly resident. Observing a residents fall history and requesting a referral to physical therapy is the most important action a nurse can take for the resident. Staff communication is another vital part of prevention(Murphy(2013)). It may sound easy, little changes in a residents routine or regimen can occur from shift to shift. It is important to discuss all information between shifts and between disciplines to aid in preventions. Another vital component of prevention is that nurses assess and consider additional triggers for falls. Assessing when falls usually occur and determining the continent status of high risk of residents. This also can lead to methods of intervention . Falls are usually associated with the need to void (Hitcho(2004)). Which instituting a toileting regimen is another nursing intervention that may lower a residents chance for a fall.
Older adults are a vulnerable portion of our population. One factor that contributes to their vulnerability is increase risk of falls. Although, this is a part that can be affected by intervention. Nurses have a unique opportunity to intervene in the lives of the elderly for who they are providing care. They can also recognize factors that the highest likelihood of falls and start actions to prevent them. When doing so it decreases vulnerability and improves the ability of life of their elderly residents.