Preventing falls in care homes: a question of balance
Ahead of her session at the BGS Falls and Postural Stability Conference in September, Kate Robertson writes with Alex Macdonald for the Geriatric Medicine blog about falls in care homes.
Falls in older adults are common and the rate is three
times higher in people in care homes than in those living in their own homes. Falls in care homes are associated with considerable mortality and morbidity-hip fractures are significantly more prevalent than in community-dwelling older people, with rates in female care home residents estimated as high as 50.8 hip fractures per 1000 person-years.1
Although extensive research has been carried out into interventions to reduce falls in community-dwelling older people, there is limited evidence of the effectiveness of such measures within care homes. Oliver concluded that it makes sense to identify risk factors for the individual so that they can be reversed or reduced where possible. However the protocols used to perform risk assessments for falls in care homes are often not validated, vary from care home to care home, and do not necessarily trigger individually-tailored interventions. These assessments invariably attempt to stratify risk but because each individual within the care home is already at high risk, opportunities for interventions to reduce the risk of falling are often missed.