There are many different conditions that can contribute to someone experiencing a fall.
I have worked with many patients over the years who just had a second of poor judgement and fell. I myself have had a few hard falls: walking over a non level parking lot at an apartment complex that was covered with snow and ice, slipping on a wet garage floor, and trying to text and walk down the stairs- twice!
As clinicians and family caregivers, it is important for us to look at the whole person, and complete situation, to figure out what factors may have contributed to a person’s fall. There are many different conditions that can play a part.
Early in the morning and late at night are common times for falls.
When I progress a patient from walker to cane, I always caution them to make a gradual transition, and consider the activity and time of day for greatest safety. People tend to be sleepiest and weakest first thing in the morning, and late at night or during the night.
Many falls for seniors occur in their bathrooms, or when they get up during the night. Sleepiness, decreased vision and poor lighting, and weakness can all contribute to a fall during the night time. Good set up, appropriate bathroom equipment, and appropriate lighting can all play a huge role in senior safety.!
Check out this night light for improved night time safety. (affiliate link)
Occupational Therapists are masters at bathroom safety and equipment recommendations! If your patient or family member is having issues with falls, or close calls, make sure to request an Occupational Therapist to evaluate your home and bathroom set up, for equipment recommendations, and training in safest techniques. I have found that it is important to ask a lot of questions, and to be wholistic in my ‘post fall’ review.
I use this handy “3 Condition” reminder to help me find reasons behind a fall:
What conditions would you add to this list? Have you noticed any trends in falls at home?
What do you do for fall prevention and patient education? Here is a sample of a post hospital fall prevention handout available on my Premium Resources Page. Verbal and written communication, check lists and accountability all contribute to improved patient safety!
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