Accidental Falls Among Elderly Patients Essay
Caring for the elderly population has increasingly become an important issue in various countries around the world. According to a report by Lord (2011), there has been a consistent increase in the elderly population in many countries around the world because of improved healthcare. However, the report also indicates that caregivers have been strained by the number of elderly patients they have to take care of in various institutions within the country. Cases of accidental falls have been common in . Some of the common causes of accidental falls have been associated with the poor structure of beds, an inadequate number of caregivers, and the nature of the patients disease. Some of the accidents are fatal, especially those that involve patients who are suffering from injuries in the spinal code. Others have led to serious injuries among elderly patients. This issue must be addressed by the caregivers to ensure that the elderly population is protected from such harm.
Statistics of Accidental Falls Among the Elderly
According to a report by Modn, Merlo, Ohlsson & Rosvall (2010), accidental falls among the elderly population are ranked fifth among the leading causes of deaths of Americans and Britons who are aged over 75 years. 62% of the major events at healthcare facilities where patients are or are associated with accidental falls. It makes it the leading risk factor for the elderly. According to the estimates given by Lord (2011), for every 1000 elderly patients admitted to healthcare centers, about 12 of them will be involved in accidental falls. It means that there is a 0.12% chance that any patient admitted to these institutions may be involved in accidental falls. Although this percentage may be lower among the population of elderly people living in the Turks and Caicos Islands, this does not mean that they are out of danger.
It is estimated that about 30-50% of these falls would lead to admission into acute care units. According to Cannard (2011), mortality rates of adults aged above 65 years that are directly associated with accidental falls have risen to 39%. It makes it one of the leading causes of death among this group of people. The report also indicates that about 35% of these falls are associated with poor infrastructures in some of the healthcare institutions. This population needs special beds and other assistive structures to aid their movements (Morse, 2009). The reports also indicate that about 40% of the falls are associated with an inadequate number of nurses and other healthcare providers.
Prevention Strategy (Teaching Strategy)
It has been stated that accidental falls among the elderly are raising concerns because they lead to serious injuries or even deaths. The caregivers must find the most appropriate approach to dealing with this issue to reduce or eliminate its consequences. The first step in this prevention strategy is to identify the stakeholders who are involved in taking care of this population. They include the nurses, the administration of various healthcare centers or home care facilities, and other relevant stakeholders involved in caring for the elderly. Each group must understand its role in caring for the elderly (Modn, Merlo, Ohlsson & Rosvall, 2010).
The registered nurses should realize that it is their responsibility to take care of the elderly people who are in hospitals or other institutions that offer care facilities to this group. According to Lord (2011), registered nurses should ensure that they understand the need of all the patients who are under their care. Those who are weak- either because of their age or sickness- should be given close attention. They should not be allowed out of their beds without assistance. The registered nurses should also be responsible for assigning nurse aides specific roles within the institutions. The nurse aides should be directly involved in helping the elderly patients move within the institution. There should be close coordination among all the people responsible for offering healthcare to these patients.
The administration has a role to play in preventing accidental falls among elderly patients admitted to healthcare institutions. The administration should ensure that there are adequate infrastructural facilities that are specially developed for elderly people. Cannard (2011) says that the elderly should use enclosed netted beds to ensure that they do not fall when they are asleep. They should also have such as booster seats that would make it safe to use the toilets (Modn, Merlo, Ohlsson & Rosvall, 2010). There should be CCTV cameras to monitor their movements within the hospitals. It will help the nurses determine if any of them may be exposed to the danger of falling. It is also the responsibility of the administration to ensure that their institutions have enough workforces to undertake various activities. In their administrative duties, the management unit must ensure that every worker is assigned to his or her rightful position and that everyone is undertaking his or her role as expected by the institution.
Other caregivers also have a role to play in caring for elderly patients in order to avoid accidental falls that may worsen their conditions or even lead to their death. It is important for the relatives to seek guidance from the nurses or other responsible authorities before handling the patients. In some cases, it may be necessary for these non-professionals to avoid the physical handling of their patients. If this is to be done, then they should seek guidance from the caregivers (Morse, 2009). When these patients are discharged from hospitals, home caregivers should seek directions on how to handle the patients at home. They should be guided on the movement pattern that the patient should be subjected to in order to avoid accidents. At the hospitals, there should be a among the patients on what they should do, and what they should avoid in order to eliminate cases of accidental falls.