Nursing Home Fall Risk Assessments in Nursing Care Plans

A fall risk assessment measures your loved one’s relative likelihood for falling while living in the nursing home. These assessments are a necessary part of every new nursing home resident’s overall evaluation due to the fact that so many residents are injured and even die due to falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately two-thirds of all nursing home residents fall each year. Those falls result in serious injuries ranging from bruises to hip fractures, and can even result in death.

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Factors Assessed for Fall Risk

Nurses and doctors can use fall risk assessment tools to supplement their medical knowledge and judgment. Common tools and models include the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model, the Morse Fall Scale and St. Thomas’ Risk Assessment Tool in Falling Elderly Inpatients (STRATIFY). Each of these tools evaluates known risk factors for falls, including:

  • Impaired mobility
  • Unsteady gait
  • Poor balance
  • History of falls
  • Cognitive impairments such as dementia
  • Medications with serious side effects
  • Use of medical equipment or devices
  • Environmental hazards

Your loved is at risk for a fall if he or she suffers from one or many of these and other related risk factors. Additionally, the likelihood of falling can change as your loved one’s conditions change. For this reason, fall risk assessments should occur on a somewhat regular basis, and your doctor should update your loved one’s care plan accordingly.

Fall Risk Assessments and Care Plans

Once the staff has completed the fall risk assessment, your loved one’s doctor should ensure that the staff uses appropriate interventions to lower the risk of falling. The doctor and staff should then work to fully document the results of the assessment, along with the plan for avoiding falls, into your loved one’s care plan.

It is important to note that a care plan is a living document. The care staff should revisit this document quarterly, or more often in the event of changed medical conditions or falls. The staff should revisit the risk assessment and plans for intervention and adjust accordingly as your loved one’s needs change. Failure to do this opens your loved one up for serious harm and can become the basis for a nursing home neglect lawsuit.

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