Resident Falls

Did you know that more than one-third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States?  Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths.  They are also the most common cause of nonfatal injuries and hospital admission for trauma (CDC, 2006).  In 2005, 15,800 people 65 and older died from injuries related to unintentional falls; about 1.8 million people 65 and older were treated in emergency departments for nonfatal injuries from falls, and more than 433,000 of these patients were hospitalized (CDC, 2008).

A fall is very frightening for both resident and staff and it is important to know what to do if you discover a resident who has fallen.  Not every injury will be readily apparent when a fall has occurred.  Just because visible bleeding or broken bones are not apparent, does not mean the resident may not be in danger or in need of immediate medical attention.

  • Check to be sure you can safely access the resident.  Do not injure yourself in the course of reaching the resident.  Be cautious of any dangers which may have caused the fall, such as a slippery floor.
  • Assess the resident.  Use the skills learned in your basic first aid training.  Any life-threatening problem will require immediate action.
  • Get help right away.  Call 911 for paramedics to transport the resident, unless you are specifically instructed to take other action per your facility protocol.
  • Do not attempt to move the resident unless the resident is in a position that threatens his or her life.  If a move is absolutely necessary, support the neck, spine and limbs, as learned in first aid.
  • Provide necessary first aid, per your training, while waiting for help to arrive.
  • Assist the resident to remain calm.  Reassure the resident that medical professionals are en route.
  • If your supervisor or administrator is not in the building, report the incident immediately.  Be sure the family or responsible party has been notified, per your facility protocol.
  • Document the incident in writing, noting the date, time, incident, staff action and care delivered as well as resident response to care.  Note the time transported by paramedics and to what hospital the resident will be transported.

We hope that these quick bullet points help you when providing exceptional care. If you would like to purchase a great video on “Fall Precautions in Assisted Living” go to Advanced Healthcare Studies, LLC.  This video addresses the essentials regarding falls in the assisted living facility in a format easily understood by the direct care staff, including types or injuries caused from falls, fall risk factors, prevention strategies, responding to falls, and when to call 911.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment