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Fall Risk Assessment

Definition - What does Fall Risk Assessment mean?

A fall risk assessment is a tool used to screen senior adults to determine their risk factors for falling. The risk assessment is generally completed by a care giver, medical professional, or family member.

After the fall risk assessment, if warranted, certain steps can be taken to eliminate the risk of injury. Frequently, the patient will receive a full comprehensive assessment followed by a multifaceted fall prevention program that is tailored to the individual. Fall risk assessments should be done at least one time per year, but may be needed more frequently if the patient has a debilitating health condition.

The fall risk assessment specifically evaluates the patient's ability to perform routine daily activities, which requires endurance, muscle strength, and balance. Fall prevention programs can help patients increase their strength and balance so they can walk, get up out of a chair, or lift objects.

Injuries from a fall

Falls are one of the most common reasons seniors are admitted to the hospital and the chance of a fall increases substantially as the patient ages. In fact, in seniors over the age of 65 years falls account for 87% of all fractures, including fractures of the hip, pelvis, spine, femur, humerus, ankle, and forearm.

Falls and nursing homes

Studies indicate that one-third of adults over the age of 64, who live outside of an institution, fall each year. According to Medscape, "Falling can cause morbidity and mortality, and often contributes to functional decline, depression, social isolation, and nursing home admission." Falls in nursing homes are also very common. In fact, it's estimated in a 100 bed nursing home facility there could be as many as 200 falls in a given year, with some residents falling multiple times.

With this in mind, it is important for nursing homes and medical facilities to take all necessary steps to eliminate this known risk. Failure to implement the proper safety measures could be considered negligent. If you have a loved one who has been injured from a fall in a medical facility, contact an injury lawyer.

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