Ever since I put my mother in the nursing home, I can't believe how many times they have called to tell me she has fallen.

Just recently, they called and told me while they were giving her physical therapy, she rolled off the bed right onto the hard floor!

How frustrating. She is in her 90's. Poor thing. Sadly, it doesn't seem there is much I can do about it. They always give lame excuses.

Anyone else having the same problem?

My family inherited clumsiness as well. I'm constantly banging my head into name it, the kitchen cupboards, my treadmill, etc.

My Mom fell once right in front of me. One minute she was walking fine, the next she fell flat. And yes, the nursing home was phoning me all the time too. I'd come rushing over and everyone was mystified. I think this is par for the course at this age.

Unfortunately, the nursing home staff can't be everywhere at once.
Helpful Answer (10)
Reply to Gershun

My husband fell in rehab with three aides standing right there. And my mom also fell quite frequently mostly because the women in our family have a condition called “Inherited Clumsiness”. We ALL fall. But Mom would also take off without her walker, or my favorite, walk holding it up off the ground.

If you are concerned about your mom’s frequent falls, call a Care Conference. Have the therapists, any aides who have contact with her, the Director of Nursing and even someone from administration. Be calm but firm and tell them you are concerned Mom may become seriously injured and you don’t want to report them, but if it continues, you may have to. Work with them to find a solution. In my mom’s case, they were able to move her room right across from the nurse’s station where they could observe her better.
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Reply to Ahmijoy
Countrymouse Sep 30, 2018
Oh my goodness, walk holding it up off the ground! Yes, that takes me back :) - but isn't it amazing how well they can manipulate an unwieldy walking frame when they can barely stay upright on their feet? Strength in those old bones yet...
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Oh yes, my stomach turns whenever the NH number comes up on my caller ID. For months it was falls, now it’s skin tears. This is complicated by the laws against restraints in my state, but there are things that can be done to help prevent the falls and minimize the effects when she does fall. We have implemented all of these and it’s helped. Is she rolling out of bed, or from the wheelchair?

If bed, use fall mats on both sides; lower the bed to the lowest position; ask for a wider bed instead of the normal skinny twin; pad under the sheets with rolled up towels or blankets to make a well; move everything away from the bed when she’s sleeping; pad any sharp corners on air conditioner units etc.

If wheelchair, make sure it’s properly sized, not too wide; ask for a chair pad that has a lot of traction; don’t use footrests if they would be a tripping hazard if she’s trying to stand up.
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Reply to rocketjcat

Having worked in nursing homes in various capacities( floor nurse, Staff Development, Director of Activities) can tell you falls are most frequent problem. We had to report all falls no matter what cause or how serious. We also had to inform family. There were numerous inservice education programs given on falls prevention. Many devices are tried to prevent falls. As for restraints, they don't seem helpful and distress the patient. Have had patients who climbed over bed rails and released their safety vests( they were tied with special knots) Escaping restraints seems to compound injuries!
If you research falls in the elderly, you will find that either in a nursing home or in their own home, it is the #1 cause of hospitalization. Much of this problem can be tied to some normal decline due to aging(decreased senses, loss of balance, loss of muscle tone) There can be medications that compromise the senses too. Complicated problem! Can't watch 24/7.
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Reply to drooney

What I witnessed in multiple facilities was aids taking so long to come to their room when they needed help or to go to the bathroom,they try to do things themselves. Ive waited with my mom multiple times for 45 min for an aid to take her to bathroom.(On purpose with my mom's agreement,so I could witness it for myself. Otherwise,I took her myself).
Also I saw the physical therapists in several ALF's so over work the residents that they are weak and in pain after therapy. When the resident complains,they push them harder & think they are being too helpless. Its a no win.
Then they fall because they are too weak to support themselves. The resident is motivated to try to get better so when the physical therapist threatens to remove therapy from them,they keep trying until they eventually fall.
I saw this in 12 different facilities on a regular basis.
I understand they are always low on aids & some aids hide out with their cell phones while some come slowly to the room on purpose hoping the resident will have handled the situation themselves,so they dont have to do anything.
It was one of the hardest things I have ever had to watch,over & over.
No director or staff memmber would listen to me about it or if they did,it was just to yes me,and continue things the same. At times my mom was fearful because when I spoke to someone,she was punished for it,with longer waits. So sad.
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Reply to robinsoul
lucyinthesky Sep 30, 2018
Mom and I had this same experience altho PT was excellent if they "liked you." Was fortunate that they liked us!

The NH was eventually fined for neglect and sold but from what I understand the same problems still exist.

We live in a small town with very few choices. Wanted Mom to stay for a week so I could go on a much needed respite but am having second thoughts.

Won't be worth it if they take her underwear off and tell her to pee the bed. Re training her to toilet herself once home again is so confusing for her. :(
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Yes, sadly I do get calls. Mostly it’s falls due to my dad being stubborn and independent and transferring without assistance. He is not a patient man and won’t wait for them to come help. Luckily no broken bones yet. Although he had a bad sprain to his wrist from the last fall. I just pray he goes before another hip is broken. For a while they were not putting his call button in his recliner and so he couldn’t call for help. I had to get pretty terse with them and use the word negligence and that got their attention. So be sure her call button is where she can access it.
Is she using a walker or wheelchair. How is it she is falling?
my dad has an air pad overlay on his bed to prevent sores but it also has curved sides to prevent rolling out. I agree with rocketjcat's suggestions!
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Reply to Harpcat

Yes, we get the dreaded fall call. My FIL has started falling and/ or fainting multiple times a week. Sometimes it is when he tries to get out of bed. Other times he has been using his walker. There have been times when he was actually in the process of having pjysical therapy and he just ends up on the floor.

The memory care facility where has lived for 6 momths calls every time he falls. Usually just to inform us that he fell and everything is ok or they had to put a bandage somewhere.
At our last care meeting, we were told falls are very common when the elderly person is still a little bit mobile on their own. They said the falls might not decrease until he is completely wheelchair bond.

There is a motion sensor on his bed and the bed is very close to the floor.

It is so hard to watch the mental and physical decline in a man that was so strong before Alzheimers.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to Mjs2699
Caregiverhelp11 Sep 30, 2018
Trust me, the falls will not decrease when he is in a wheelchair, because my mother has been in a wheelchair, unable to get around herself, and she has fallen so many times since being in the nursing home.
I got the same calls for my mom - even for when they were transferring her & her leg gave out so she ended up on the floor but she did a slow semi-controlled 'fall' as the PSW couldn't keep her up but assisted her down so she wouldn't hurt herself however the NH policy is call every time [I called it a slip not a fall] but thereafter there was 2 PSWs to help her transfer

Your mom is falling because someone is there all the time to see it - she might have being some minor falls before that she didn't tell anyone about - my mom fell out of bed a few weeks ago so now there are mats on both sides of the bed & the bed is in lowest position if she will be there alone so as to make any future fall minimized

Be grateful that they call & tell you rather than hiding things from you so many the 'lame excuses' are really accurate accounts - here they need to write a report on all falls that the NH submits to the Ministry of Health as they are tracked & if they see a trend then a procedural policy is initiated
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to moecam

Long-Term Care Facilities are required to call the family (responsible party), and doctor each time a resident falls. If the fall is without injury they have 24 hours to notify the family/doctor, if there is an injury they should be notified immediately.

If I have a client who is continually falling in a home one question I have is are there enough staff at the home to monitor the residents?

I have a few clients who can fall every day, sometimes several times a day. Some of these clients are competent. The problem is that these residents refuse to wait for the staff to assist them when they need help claiming that they have to wait 30-60 (or longer) minutes for staff to respond. What I have to determine is are they really having to wait that long (possibly short staffing issues), or are do they have unrealistic expectations and expect the staff to respond immediately to their requests for help? I have seen both.

The staff are required in a home that accepts Medicare/Medicaid to do Care Plans every three months or when there is a significant change in their condition (repeated falls would qualify for this.) If a resident is falling it should be addressed in the Care Plan and the staff should come up with an "action plan" to address the issue. The staff must try all options to keep the resident safe. They may lower the bed and put a mat on the floor, if the resident falls out of bed, they may utilize a personal safety alarm to notify them when a resident stands up if the resident is falling out of a wheelchair, there are many options the staff may try. However, if the resident is competent they may refuse any intervention the staff may want to try, and that is their right.

I had a client who was in a skilled home and she would fall one or two times a day. She was competent and refused any intervention the staff attempted to put into place. Again, she had a right to refuse. The staff documented every fall, and called the family and doctor. One concern the family had was that the home would attempt to discharge her stating that they could not meet her needs. I assured the family that the home could not discharge her due to this because she had a right to refuse. However, we did let the home know that we were aware that she was refusing their help and that we did not hold them responsible for her falls or any injury that occurred as a result of those falls, (and some of those falls did result in injury such as broken bones.)

Some long-term care facilities are "restraint free." Although these homes must still do the Care Plans, they will not offer any type of restraint to help with the situation. Some homes will tell a family it is against the law to restrain. This is NOT true! Restraints can be used when needed to treat a medical condition with a doctor's order. However, there are very strict rules on when a restraint can be used and if used guidelines to follow when they are in use. Families should ask a home when they are looking to admit a loved one if they are "restraint-free?" I have heard some of these "restraint-free" homes tell families that their residents "have a right to fall. Although I think they could explain their policy better it is true.
Helpful Answer (3)
Reply to cjwilson
athena1234 Oct 4, 2018
Hope they dont slip and hit their head, or break their hip...more medical help......whats the point sounds like the staff does not want to be on control with an alarm!
The memory care facility my dad was in said it was a requirement for them to call when he fell. Not sure if that was some kind of state requirement or their policy, but they considered it a requirement to notify the primary contact.
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Reply to debbye

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