The Benefits of Falls Prevention Equipment
Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries, complications, and even death in skilled nursing facilities. In the United States, three million people are treated for falls annually, and one out of five falls results in serious injuries. Because of this and the harm caused to patients, falls represent a major potential expense and source of litigation for skilled nursing facilities.
While falls are serious and costly, many skilled nursing facilities have significant areas of improvement in their fall prevention programs. Specialized falls prevention equipment is a huge opportunity for skilled nursing facilities to minimize the risk of falls and is an essential component of any falls program.
What Counts as Falls Prevention Equipment?
There are several types of equipment that skilled nursing facilities may use in their effort to prevent falls. Some common falls prevention equipment include:
- Active Patient Lifts: Patient lifts are devices designed to safely lift and transfer patients. Active patient lifts do some of the work for the patient while the patient does the rest. If used correctly, these devices significantly reduce the risk of falls during transfers.
- Passive Patient Lifts: Passive patient lifts are lift devices that do all the work for patients during transfers. These tools are ideal for bariatric patients or patients who cannot ambulate safely. Passive lifts are excellent for limiting potential injuries to providers during transfers.
- Slings: Slings are typically used with patient lifts to provide comfortable and secure support for the patient during transfers. Different types of slings allow for patient lifts to be used in various situations, increasing the versatility of these devices.
- Gait Belts: Gait belts are placed on patients, giving providers a place to bear some of the patient’s weight. They are used to provide stability and support while walking but hold a high risk of injury to patients and providers when compared to other falls management equipment.
- Wheelchairs: Wheelchairs provide an excellent tool for transferring disabled patients from one location to another but do not decrease the risk of falls associated with transfers in and out of wheelchairs.
- Walking Aids: Walking aids are an excellent tool for patients who can safely walk with some assistance. They are more dangerous, however, compared to the safety offered by active patient lifts, especially when there is any question about the patient’s ability to walk safely.
- Fall Alarms: These devices alert caregivers when a patient at risk of falling is no longer in bed, in a chair, in the bathroom, or on the move allowing them to potentially intervene before a fall occurs.
- Electric Beds: Adjustable beds can be lowered or change shape to assist patient transfer and reduce the risk of falls when patients get in or out of bed.
- Slide Sheets: Slide sheets are low-friction sheets that make it easier and safer to slide a patient from one bed to another with minimal effort.
Of the different types of falls prevention equipment available, patient lifts coupled with the right slings offer the greatest versatility and safety. Patient lifts eliminates strain and mechanical effort for caregivers, reducing the risk of strain, injury, and technique errors. Different slings allow for transfers into beds, onto toilets or commodes, into wheelchairs, or even provide for easier repositioning without transferring.
Patient lifts can be mobile for use in multiple rooms or ceiling lifts, offering significant versatility within a single room. Lifts are particularly beneficial for bariatric patients or patients who cannot assist in their own care.
The Benefits of Falls Prevention Equipment
Investing in specialized equipment and a robust falls program can significantly improve patient outcomes by minimizing the risk of falls and related injuries. Some key benefits of falls prevention equipment include:
- Reduced risk of falls: Secure and stable support during transfers significantly reduces patients’ chances of falling.
- Improved patient comfort and dignity: Using specialized equipment helps ensure that patients are moved safely and comfortably, preserving their dignity.
- Enhanced staff safety: Manually lifting patients can result in injuries to caregivers. Falls prevention equipment not only protects patients but also reduces the risk of workplace injuries for care staff.
- Better care for bariatric patients: Lifting and transferring bariatric patients can be particularly challenging. Specialized lifts, such as ceiling lifts, and slings designed for bariatric patients, provide extra support and safety during transfers.
- Increased efficiency: With the right equipment, caregivers can perform transfers more quickly and efficiently, allowing them to devote more time to other aspects of patient care.
Investing in falls management equipment, such as patient lifts, slings, and bed systems , is essential for any effective falls program. Joerns Healthcare offers a comprehensive line of fall management equipment designed to meet all the unique fall prevention needs of skilled nursing facilities. Contact Joerns today to learn more about their falls prevention equipment and how it can benefit your skilled nursing facility.