Caregivers for the elderly are faced with the challenge of preventing falls, specifically falls from bed. Falls can be serious, even fatal, events for older Americans. According to the Centers for Disease Control, nearly 1800 elderly die from fall each year. Most of these deaths occur in nursing homes and many are caused by falls from bed or a fall immediately after rising from bed.
Many of the falls are preventable.
The professionals at Body Up Evolution, manufacturers of patient lifting devices, would like to pass along some tips to caregivers on how to prevent their patents from suffering a fall getting out of bed.
5 Tips to Prevent Falls by Elderly Patients from Bed
The best place to start is to determine what is causing the falls out of bed. Once that’s established, caregivers and medical staff can create a fall prevention plan. Falls from bed usually fall into one of two categories, falls caused by rolling out of bed while asleep, and falls while attempting to get out of bed. There are a number of general causes for falls that can be complicated by a patient frail condition or the onset of dementia.
Let’s take a look at some causes and what can be done about them:
- Have a conversation. Talk to the patient about their concerns over falling. Do they have a balance issue? Do they get light-headed if they stand up or sit up too quickly? What medications do they take? How often do they get up from bed to use the toilet at night? How confident are they that they can get out of bed by themselves? Understanding how the patient feels about the risk of falling will give the caregiver an idea of how cooperative he or she will be following a fall prevention plan.
- Review medications. Older patients usually have some level of hypertension or high blood pressure. Some however, have hypotension or low blood pressure which can cause light-headedness or even fainting. Medications can contribute to hypotension. Have the patients doctor taker blood pressure standing and sitting to determine the presence of hypotension and then adjust medications accordingly. Avoid the use of sleep aids.
- Toilet training. Put a restriction on the consumption of fluids in the evening. Make sure the patient uses the bathroom before retiring to bed. If you can eliminate the need to make trips to the bathroom at night you lessen the opportunity for a fall.
- Body lift devices. If the patient is unable to get in and out of bed without assistance, a body lift device can be a game changer for the caregiver. These lift devices are light weight, easy to use, require no strenuous physical effort, and safely maneuver a patient from a wheelchair to bed or bed to a wheelchair.
- Bed Railings. This is a controversial move. Side railings prevent a patient from rolling off the bed. However, some elderly have become entangled in railings breaking limbs and even dying. Medicare/Medicaid thinks they are too dangerous and will not pay for them. There are unobtrusive, soft, restraint devices like cozies that attach to the wall and limit the patient’s movement.
The number one preventer of falls is a human caregiver. They have a difficult, but all important role in the patient’s health. Make the caregiver’s job a little easier by exploring the advantages of Body Up Evolution’s multi-purpose patient lift today.