Helping Family Caregivers with Fall Prevention in the Home

“Because mobility in later life results in positive health benefits but increases exposure to falls, many researchers and health care providers in geriatric nursing and medicine have called for ensuring safe mobility while protecting older adults from harm. It’s especially important to identify strategies that can potentially reduce the risk of fall-related injuries in older adults.This increasing focus on fall-injury prevention—in addition to fall prevention—represents a major shift in safety practice.”

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How can nurses best help family caregivers?

How can nurses help family caregivers identify fall risk in their family members, prevent falls, and respond to them if they occur?

According to the authors of “Preventing Falls and Fall-Related Injuries at Home“—the latest in our ongoing series of articles and videos, Supporting Family Caregivers: No Longer Home Alone—the need for better education and resources on such topics is widespread among family caregivers:

“In a national survey of caregivers who provide unpaid care to a relative or friend, 46% reported they assisted with medical and nursing tasks. Of these, 43% said such help involved the use of assistive mobility devices, such as walkers or canes. Almost half of family caregivers are also known to provide assistance to older adults as they transfer into and […]

Family Caregivers: Nurses by Default

Caregiver guides family member using safe stair-climbing technique. Photo courtesy of AARP Public Policy Institute.

We all know how compressed hospital stays are. Patients are frequently admitted and discharged within a few days, even for what used to be “big” surgeries. We dutifully send them home with discharge instructions—sometimes, pages of them—and often have only a few minutes to go over them with whoever is taking the patient home. And in many cases, that person is not even the one who will be caring for the patient, so instructions for medications and treatments are given second-hand. And we wonder why there are so many readmissions within 30 days!

Forty million plus unpaid caregivers in the United States.

As I note in this month’s editorial, there are over 40 million unpaid caregivers in this country who are administering complex medical and nursing interventions such as ostomy and wound care,  tube feedings, injections, and tracheostomy care, in addition to taking on bathing, toileting, and other necessary care. Many of these caregivers do so without any real training. Aside from the real danger that they may cause harm to the patient or to themselves, they often live in fear that they are not providing what […]