Falls Prevention Awareness Week is observed annually by the National Council on Aging, and this year’s commemoration takes place Sept. 21 to 25. The observance highlights the importance of preventing falls by using available resources and evidence-based practices.
The rate of deaths caused by falls in the United States increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016 for older adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, more than one-third of hospital falls result in injury, including fractures and head trauma. The MHA Keystone Center is committed to helping healthcare workers provide safe care and reduce adverse outcomes, with an emphasis on preventing falls, through its Age-Friendly Health Systems Action Community and MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative.
- Mobility: Ensure that older adults move safely every day to maintain function and do What Matters.
- What Matters: Know and align care with each older adult’s specific health outcome goals and care preferences.
- Medication: If medication is necessary, use age-friendly medication that does not interfere with What Matters to the older adult, Mobility, or Mentation across settings of care.
- Mentation: Prevent, identify, treat and manage dementia, depression and delirium across.
The Age-Friendly Health Systems: Guide to Using the 4Ms in the Care of Older Adults recommends ensuring safe mobility by assessing and managing impairments that reduce mobility, such as pain; impairments in strength, balance or gait; hazards in the home; and high-risk medications. Providers can take this further by incorporating a multifactorial falls prevention protocol, such as Stopping Elderly Accidents, Death & Injuries, which reduces elderly patients’ risk of falling through identification of those at risk and modifiable risk factors and the use of evidence-based tools.
With nearly 50 participating organizations, the MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative focuses on preventing harm in four areas: slips, trips and falls; patient handling; workplace violence; and sharps. Participants in the collaborative receive access to interactive events with renowned safety experts and up-to-date tools and resources to support their falls prevention efforts. They also receive access to the workplace safety dashboard, an interactive tool designed to track progress.
The MHA Workplace Safety Collaborative concluded its bimonthly safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) coaching calls in August. The calls focused on integral components to implementing an SPHM program, such as using the bedside mobility assessment tool, conducting post-fall huddles and engaging the patient/caretaker(s) in the mobility care plan as methods of assessing patients for fall risk and ensuring a continuous learning cycle. A recap is available.
Members who wish to join or learn more about these efforts may contact the MHA Keystone Center.