Falls in older people are a major concern in terms of disability, institutionalisation, mortality, and socioeconomic burden.

An Australian study found 8% of women aged in their 40s, 14% in their 50s, 25% in their 60s, and 40% in their 70s had experienced a fall in the previous 12 months. In older adults, up to 30% of falls can result in moderate to severe injuries, such as lacerations, hip fractures, and head trauma, resulting in an increased risk of early death. A fall may lead to a fear of falling, avoidance of daily activities, social isolation, lowered quality of life and can precipitate a move to residential aged care.

– Falls prevention in older adults – Assessment and management. Volume 41, No.12, December 2012 Pages 930-935

As I read this, I focused on the last few words, ‘…and can precipitate a move to residential aged care…’, and realised how vulnerable Aged Care Facilities are for falls risks amongst their residents. The very fact that a person has had a fall/s, may well be the very reason they relocate to an Aged Care Facility.

This being the case, the risk simply must be mitigated or reduced. But the risk is real, and potentially quite severe, as this excerpt defines.

Recently I visited a facility that was using floor mats for Falls Risk Residents. When I asked why they were using floor mats rather than bed mats, I was informed that they were told their NurseCall System was not compatible with bed mats. I engaged in a really interesting conversation with the Clinical Manager on this topic. One specific resident had been having a significant number of falls during the night, partially due to disorientation. She would sit up in bed, get disorientated, half awake and get up to try and “get her bearings”. However, in her state of disorientation, she would misjudge the floor, and, well you will know the outcome. Sadly, the floor mat was too late!

Clearly, a bed mat, that alerts staff that the resident has sat up in bed, will mitigate the risk of a fall significantly. But I was told their system was not ‘compatible’ with bed mats. That’s like a red rag to a bull! I had to find a solution. Spare you the details, but with some investigation and experimentation, I found a solution, using an off-the-shelf product, with a minor adjustment made prior to delivery. To be fair, I allowed the site to have the mat set up on trial for 2 weeks, before the need for a commitment.

After just one week I was excited to receive a call from the Clinical Manager to lodge a purchase order. To my delight (but more importantly, to the delight of the Clinical Manager), this precious Resident had not had a single fall for a whole week. As predicted, the Resident triggered an alarm on the NurseCall System as soon as she sat up in bed. Therefore, a staff member was able to attend to the Resident, settle her (or assist her to the bathroom) and safely ensure she returned to a restful sleep.

Such an experience is what I consider a win. It certainly fulfils our objective of being a solutions business that is ‘People-centred, technology-driven’.

Please call us if need to ensure you have access to the most appropriate Falls Risk Mitigation Solution for your Residents – 1300 767 407 or Email now for a free system review.

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