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Wheelchair falls awareness and prevention

Wheelchair falls are a growing concern for nursing homes. According to the Annals of Long-Term Care, more than 80% of nursing home residents spend time in a wheelchair daily. Wheelchair falls and tips can lead to serious injuries, and with forecasts for nursing home residents expected to reach three million by 2030, preventing wheelchair falls is an urgent concern.

Fortunately, there are several ways to help keep residents safe by preventing and reducing falls.

Identification of the causes of wheelchair falls

To effectively prevent falls, it is important to identify the causes that act in a community of care for the elderly. Marco Aguiluz, director of Home Care at Parentis Health, explains that there are many potential factors contributing to the falls.

“Some older people have a history of falls, perhaps due to illness or a balance problem,” he explains. “They can fall more easily than others, and it’s important for their families to inform staff of this probability.”

In addition, lack of sufficient staff training can contribute to wheelchair falls. “Occasionally, the problem will be a wheelchair that doesn’t work, but more often than not, it’s due to an incorrect configuration, either by the patient or a support person,” says Aguiluz.

“It is important to adjust the brakes or a recoil prevention device so that they hold on and the chair does not get tangled when the person is going to sit on them because falls can cause many injuries, from small cuts and bruises to serious problems such as fractures and head trauma “.

Dr. Steve Hruby is a doctor of chiropractic and the founder of Kaizen Progressive Wellness, a chiropractic care center in Scottsdale, Arizona. He points out that wheelchair falls often cause injuries, such as fractures, lacerations, and head injuries. People may also experience back or neck injuries from a fall.

Implementation of wheelchair fall prevention changes

It is important that care communities for the elderly focus on multiple elements that contribute to the prevention of sagging. This starts with security devices.

Aguiluz explains that one of the most available devices is an “anti-return system” that consists of a plug attached to the chair to prevent it from falling back when a resident climbs into the chair. “Some are also equipped with alarms,” Aguiluz says. “Because setbacks are often the source of falls and injuries, they are very helpful in preventing falls.”

He also points out that other devices, such as alarms and drop seats, can also be useful, but do not prevent falls. A folding seat can help residents who find it difficult to get down when sitting, but often also forget to close the chair in place. The use of an anti-rollback device is essential in these cases.

Dr. Hruby suggests that the facilities focus on conducting a thorough resident assessment to better anticipate the risk of wheelchair falls for residents. “This assessment should include an assessment of the individual’s functional abilities, medical history, and home environment,” he says. “Based on this information, the facility can determine the type of assistance each resident may need.”

Aguiluz stresses the importance of training staff to better anticipate challenges and work with residents ’families to know the resident’s disabilities. He suggests using a intake questionnaire that identifies any history of falls, imbalance conditions, or other items that may make the resident more vulnerable to falls. “Make the staff more aware of these clients, and then train both families and patients on the safe use of the wheelchair,” he says. “It is often new patients who may be unfamiliar with the use of wheelchairs and their safety mechanisms who are most likely to have problems.”

Most important changes in the prevention of falls in a wheelchair

Changes such as improved staff training and the use of wheelchair safety devices are relatively easy to implement. But in some cases, wheelchair falls can lead to larger defects in the structure of a community of care for the elderly. “Falls can become a common occurrence if a facility is understaffed or has no real system of safety procedures,” says Aguiluz. “Many locations need more people to monitor patients. Family members need to ask themselves about the proportion of caregivers and patients when they place their loved ones in large living facilities.”

He explains that having the right manager who understands the challenges and can train the staff to know what to watch out for may be the most important thing in preventing wheelchair falls. “This, along with having enough staff and enough training to deal with complex requirements, will allow for a happier living condition and a longer life for many elderly patients.”

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