Dual-stiffness flooring in nursing homes helps reduce fractures from falls, study shows

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Editor's Note: This article has been updated with information about the study's sponsors.

Nursing home residents who fall on dual-stiffness flooring may be less prone to fractures, according to a study recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. 

Researchers from the Bruyere Research Institute in Canada, supported in part by SATech Inc. and the Care of the Elderly Physicians' Association, reviewed falls that occurred at an Arizona nursing home in 2008-2010. Eighty-two falls occurred on dual-stiffness flooring, which was flooring that incorporated a layer of compressible material meant to cushion falls. No resident who fell on the dual-stiffness flooring experienced a fracture. Of 85 falls on regular flooring, there were two fractures.

“The fracture rate of 2.4% of falls on the regular floor is consistent with previous reports in the literature, whereas a 0% rate found on the DSF floor is a clinically significant improvement,” the researchers wrote.

These initial findings suggest dual-stiffness flooring may be a “practical approach” that nursing homes can take to reduce fall-related injuries, and the researchers called for this to be confirmed in a larger study.