23 Falls- What's your count ?

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My mom will have been in memory care for one year soon
She has fallen twenty three times
maybe more.
I wonder when she will be in a geri-chair or something to protect her....
Anyways, have you documented all the times your LO has fallen?
What's your count?

23 Comments

Mica, I think that rather than counting the number of falls, I would high tail it to the administration and discuss the issue of falls and what they can do to address it. If you think she needs a geri-chair, don't wonder. ASK.
I also wonder what the facility has to say about this, I know that some falls are inevitable but this seems excessive. What falls prevention procedures and strategies have they discussed with you?
excessive? see, thats why i wanted a count here, to see if it was excessive.
They put on "hipsters" which is a padded girdle. She runs around with her rollator all day and is Quite mobile!
It is a years worth and i wondered how others here measure up.
Mica, I see your point now. But the number of falls that might or might not be "excessive" is totally dependent on the individual's medical and physical conditions. It sounds like your mother is fairly active and mobile, so I would ask how and why did she fall? Was she trying to move unassisted? Was she in a hurry? Was there no one to help her?

I would factor these issues into the equation, but 23 falls in one year does seem excessive. Again, it depends on the individual.

E.g., I could write that my father who's 98 has fallen once this year, after having falling and broken each femur in the past. But he's living in his own home, has a good neighborhood support network, and is a very determined individual. And those individual characteristics come into play. I sense that your mother might be another of those determined individuals. So in that context, yes, I would be concerned about the number of her falls, but again, it depends on what other medical conditions she has.
I haven't counted all the falls as back when my 90 something parents lived on their own, they would fall and never tell me but bruises were a sign that there was a mishap..... unless Dad couldn't get himself back up and he needed help. Elderly people fall, that is just something they do.

micalost, when you think about it, your Mom falls on average once every two weeks or so. I would get calls from the facility once every two weeks, too.

Whenever my Dad needs to use the bathroom he would try to get there on his own, using his rolling walker, as he doesn't want to bother the Staff by paging them. And fall on his way to or in the bathroom. He will fall trying to get out of bed at night, even with a bed railing to help keep him steady. He will roll out of his recliner while trying to tie his shoes. We have to understand that their memory isn't as sharp so they won't use common sense when they want to get from point A to point B.

My late Mom [98] was Houdini, she lived in long-term-care and was always trying to climb out of bed, out of her wheelchair, and out of her geri-recliner... the only thing she couldn't stand up any more but she thought she could. The Staff tried all they could as by law in our State they couldn't be tied down. The geri-recliner worked only if my Mom didn't remove the pillows under her knees, and she was placed in the nurses station to be watched. But she was quick !!

My husband fell often 2 or 3 times a day. There were few days without falls. He was at home with me, and he fell sometimes when I was standing beside him! All I could do was break his fall. I don't remember exactly how long this went on, but it was 3 months that would be about 150+ falls.

It helped a lot when we got a wheelchair. He could scoot around the house using his feet, without fear of falling. This did wonders for his state of mind! But I don't think a geri chair would have been suitable at that point. He was still mobile.

Then his doctors speculated that his falls were the result of narcoleptic episodes and treated him accordingly. No more falls! Amazing. (Balance issues caused some falls later in his disease.)

micalost, you need (in my opinion) to talk to the staff and work with them on the falling issue. Obviously they are aware of the problem and are trying to minimize the risk of injury. She has fallen 23 times, but how do you know that without their careful supervision she wouldn't have fallen 90?

One way of preventing her from falling is to restrain her with physical restraints or with drugs. That is generally considered Not Good practice and is illegal in many situations. A geri chair might be considered restraint.

You need to talk to them about what they are doing, what things they have considered but have decided against, their reasons, and how you can help.

Jeanne's post reminded me of what can be done in an attempt to prevent more falls: physical therapy.
Mica I think the falls and the risks associated with them are just part of allowing he to have the freedom to move around and generally be as happy as possible in the facility. Worrisome as the fall risk is they seem to have done all they can short of tying her up or medicating her into a zombie. She uses her rollator and they have protected her hips which are both good things. She is getting plenty of exercise and hopefully interacting with the other residents. Do you really want her strapped in a geri chair asleep all day getting bedsores. There have to be checks and balances
GardenArtist raises a good point. Sometimes PT can help prevent falls. But it really depends on the reason for the falls. For my mom, the reason was that she could not remember that she couldn't stand up and support her own weight. She was not a candidate for PT (except for some upper body strengthening.) Other means had to be found to minimize risks for her.

While my husband's falls were caused by a form of narcoleptic episodes no amount of PT would have prevented them. Treating the episodes worked.

Often we don't really know what the cause is, so a certain amount of trial-and-error is called for, all while trying to minimize risks of injury.
Mica
My 93 year old mom hasn't fallen quite that many times but she has a torn tendon in her foot which has been a problem for years - now add arthritis and several compressed vertebrae and she can trip over a thread - I worry constantly at her memory care because of all the mayhem and dang dogs running around on top of the anti-psych drugs which cause dizziness and confusion - I try to get her physical therapy as much as Medicare will allow in a year

I decided against the hipsters since she's a big gal and I knew she'd hate having anything tight on her tummy and I've read mixed reviews on their usefulness - your take on them?

I can tell you that others there fall continuously but they seem to be very different acting than her - that is can't really talk etc Of course one 90 year old woman fell right in front of me and she was using her walker

My other observation is even if they put an alarm on your mom's wheelchair or bed if there's no one around they will still get up and fall - one poor woman fell 2x in a day and knocked out a tooth and the LVN didn't notice the missing tooth despite a head injury

In our state memory care is considered assisted living and they cannot use restraints nor would I want her tied down

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