Tips to reduce resident falls


As people age, falls are more likely for a number of reasons, including changes in balance and mobility. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one-third of adults age 65 and older fall each year. Falls can be devastating to an older body, causing serious injuries such as fractures and head trauma. The CDC reports that an older adult dies from a fall every 29 minutes. Therefore, it is vital that long-term facilities and their staff do everything possible to reduce the likelihood of residents suffering a fall.

Most falls are caused by a combination of multiple risk factors. The more risk factors a person has, the greater their chances of falling. Long-term care providers can lower a resident’s risk by reducing or minimizing those risk factors. That’s why it’s important first to focus on risk factors that can be modified. Care providers should provide a resident with a complete risk assessment for fall as well as assessing medications for side effects that could lead to falls. If a resident has a history of falls, care providers should perform an analysis to find the root cause of the falls. For example, has the resident fallen before due to trying to reach for an item or tripping over improper footwear? Finding the root cause of the falls may help in providing or recommending modifications.

Other recommendations
  • Reduce environmental clutter in resident’s room
  • Keep most-used items within reach
  • Move call light so it’s within reach
  • Raise toilet seat
  • Lower bed height
  • Suggest high back chairs
  • Proper seating if the resident is in a wheelchair – feet flat on the floor, lowering the back of the seat. Have occupational therapist check for proper placement.
  • Suggest proper slip resistant footwear
  • Suggest helmets, if applicable
Courtesy of The Compliance Store

Support for residents
Education and exercise are also important tools in helping residents reduce the likelihood of falls. Falls prevention is a team effort that takes a balance of education, preparation and support. Regularly educate the residents and their families about the risks of falls through activities such as information sessions and classes on fall prevention. As the body ages, it is common to lose some coordination, flexibility and balance— mainly through inactivity—making it easier to fall. If they are ambulatory, encourage residents’ participation in exercise or rehabilitation activities that help to improve balance and train the walking gait. This type of regular activity can help increase strength and stability and prevent falls.
To learn more about prevention, risk assessment and other information about falls, go to