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Fall Prevention in Nursing Homes The Wisconsin CNA Responsibility

According the Department of Health Services in Wisconsin, the state has one of the highest rates of death from unintentional falls in the nation.  Death rates due to unintentional falls are twice the national average in Wisconsin. The average nursing home residents that die each year due to falls is around 1,800.  Falls among the elderly are responsible for 90 percent of broken hips.  There are  several ways for the Wisconsin CNA to prevent falls in nursing home residents.

Around 24% of the falls that occur in nursing homes are do to residents who have trouble walking and those who have muscle weakness.  As a CNA it is your responsibility to have a better understanding of the residents that you care for.  Has the resident had a stroke, have a physical disability or other aliments that may cause their steps to become unsteady. The CNA should always use a gait belt when a resident needs assistance in walking.

Up to 27% of falls are do to hazards within the nursing home such as wet floors, poor vision due to improper lighting, bed height being placed at an unsafe level, and improperly maintained wheelchairs. It is the responsibility of the certified nursing assistant to always lower the bed to the lowest level after providing care.  Bathroom lights can be left on with the door partially open to provide residents who get out of bed on their own light to see where they are going.  When residents are up in wheelchairs, they should be inspected to make sure that they are in working order.  A resident should never be place in a wheelchair that has any type of damage to it.

The more medications a that nursing home resident is taking the greater the risk for falls and fall related injuries.  There are some medications that increase this risk such as:

• Blood pressure medicine
• Heart medicines
• Diuretics
• Muscle relaxant medicine
• sedatives

There are other ways for nursing assistants to help with fall prevention in nursing home.  When CNAs dress residents they need to be the eyes for them.  Do their shoes fit properly? What is the health of their feet?  These are some of the issues that need to be addressed to help prevent falls. 

Although we have listed ways for the Wisconsin CNA to prevent falls in nursing homes, it is the entire healthcare team responsibility to prevent residents from falling. Each nursing facility must have a fall prevention care plan in place.  This should include the whole staff and the family of the resident.