Fall prevention is a constant concern for both the aging population and those caring for them. Not only can falls result in major injuries or even fatalities for the resident, but escalating fall rates can prove fatal to the sustainability of the care community, too. 

The good news is that there are several ways we can adapt or design the environment in which we care for seniors in a way that supports effective fall prevention. From decor choices to strategic color contrasts, there are so many simple ways we can better our design habits to help seniors live a more dignified life for longer. 

Why falls prevention? 

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S.—making falls the leading cause of injury and injury death in this age group”. 

Falls are clearly a serious factor when considering the well-being of the elderly generation, but falls don’t just affect the patient. They have a wide and far-reaching impact on the facility responsible for their care. 

A high number of falls in long-term care communities can lead to: 

  • Lawsuits
  • Higher insurance premiums
  • Increased paperwork
  • Increased levels of care for those who fall
  • Poor survey results
  • Regulatory penalties
  • Loss of capital due to temporary move-outs
  • Diminished staff morale

Fall prevention at the design level can significantly reduce the likelihood of falls happening and the avoidable loss of reputation and capital.

The key benefits

To support care communities in their implementation of effective fall management and intervention programs, we’ve created a whitepaper that details several strategies for adapting the environment to support natural fall prevention. Our guide, “Falls Prevention by Design,” reflects upon how elements of design, such as specific color contrasts, lighting and textures of furnishings, can play a vital part in fall prevention. Discover fall prevention modifications presented room by room with a simple rating system to help you determine the ease and cost of implementing each measure and some common design mistakes to avoid. 

Who needs this resource? 

The comprehensive guide is intended for use by those in a position of care or responsibility in skilled nursing facilities, assisted living and long-term care communities. 

Falls in senior care environments are expected — and some may say, inevitable — but our team and other experts in fall prevention believe that much can be done to mitigate the risk of falls occurring and that buildings, rooms, and interiors can be designed specifically to prevent falls. 

Samuel Drake is the CEO of Accora Inc. – the creators of the lowest nursing bed on the market and other innovative, assistive medical equipment for geriatric care. Samuel’s aspiration for the future is to continue to safeguard and enrich people’s lives, bringing dignity and creating possibility through creative yet simple design.

The opinions expressed in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News guest submissions are the author’s and are not necessarily those of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News or its editors.