This is Fall Prevention Awareness Week, but the truth is that preventing fall injuries among residents is a major year-round concern for long-term care providers.

It’s with good cause: Fall safety programming has been increasing at skilled nursing facilities across the country, yet the number of fall injuries is still rising annually.

Currently, over 800,000 patients a year are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a broken hip or head injury. This costs our economy over $150 billion annually. Fall death rates in the U.S. increased by 30% from 2007 to 2016 for older adults. If these rates continue to rise, we can anticipate seven fall-related deaths every hour by 2030. 

Between 50% and 75% of nursing facility residents fall each year, leading to about 1,800 individual nursing facility deaths annually. 

Falls can also result in a functional decline, disability and reduced quality of life. The fear of falling can cause depression, social isolation, feelings of helplessness and further decreases in function.

One of the largest challenges for long-term healthcare facilities is creating a comforting atmosphere for their residents while not compromising on the need for safety implementations. As the CEO of the accessibility company Handi Products, I have worked diligently with my team to help SNF professionals overcome that challenge.

With the concept of “where safety meets style” in mind, we developed a fall-prevention line that helps keep people safe from injury while blending seamlessly into the aesthetics of any healthcare facility. 

In a typical year, a nursing home with 100 residents reports about 100-200 falls, according to the Nursing Home Abuse Center. About 10%-20% of nursing home or long-term health care facility falls cause serious injuries, with 2%-6% resulting in a fracture.

My book, “Stop the Slip,” is a guide on fall prevention. It also explores the drastic costs and life-altering impacts on a single fall by highlighting real-life stories. It addresses slips, trips, and falls occurring in a wide variety of locations by arming SNF readers with a plethora of resources to help aid in preventing injuries not only for their residents, but also for themselves.

At Handi Products, those resources keep facilities covered from the bathroom to the outdoor patio.

ClearGrip treads can be easily applied to any tile or hardwood surface to help provide more traction, ideal in any facility bathrooms, dining areas, stairs or indoor pathways where slipping and falling is a concern. The gripped texture is easy on feet and provides enough traction to prevent a slip and fall accident, even with liquids on the floor.

Bath mats and shower strips adhere directly to the tub surface providing traction, durability, and sustainability. We also offer a wide array of accessibility ramps for indoors and outdoors, including aluminum treads perfect for prevention slips and falls on wooden or concrete steps and outdoor pathways.

“Stop the Slip” encourages providers to think design for safety and comfort.

It lays out the “ALERT” system, which can help develop a proactive mindset towards fall injuries rather than reactive. We can’t prevent all falls from happening, but arming your staff with the right information and tools can greatly help reduce the number of resident fall injuries.

Thom Disch is the CEO and owner of Handi Products.