According to the CDC, around 36 million older adults fall each year, and 32,000 of these falls result in death.
If you own a senior care facility, a big part of your responsibility is preventing seniors from falling or injuring themselves. Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do to ensure the safety and wellness of your residents.
Check out this guide to learn how to make senior care facilities safer.
1. Hire a Cleaning Company
Hiring a commercial healthcare cleaning company is one of the best things you can do to make your facility safer for seniors.
When your facility is clean and clutter-free, your residents are less likely to trip and fall. Plus, clean living facilities present fewer fire hazards as well as more hygienic living conditions.
Elderly persons are also more likely to suffer from infectious diseases than younger populations due to weakened immune systems. A commercial cleaning company can help stop the spread of infectious diseases by thoroughly disinfecting your facility’s walls and surfaces.
2. Install Handrails
Handrails are an essential component of every senior care facility. Many residents suffer from mobility issues, and handrails can offer some much-needed stability for your residents.
Bathrooms can be some of the most dangerous places for senior citizens, as stepping in and out of a tub can be very difficult, especially when the floor is slippery. This is why it’s important to place handrails next to every toilet and inside every shower or bathtub.
It’s best to install adjustable handrails so they can accommodate residents of varying sizes. Handrails should also be installed in other places in your resident care facility. We suggest placing handrails along as many walls as possible so your residents have access to them whenever they need them.
3. Make Your Bathrooms Safe
Installing handrails isn’t the only thing you can do to make the bathrooms in your senior care facility safer. Here are some other things you can do to make the bathrooms safe for your seniors:
Install Handheld Shower Heads: Handheld showerheads make bathing much easier for elderly patients. Plus, handheld showerheads make it much easier for seniors to bathe on their own, giving them an increased sense of independence.
Tension Poles: In addition to handrails or grab bars, you can also install tension poles to give your seniors added support when in the bathtub.
Shower Chair: Having a place to sit while showering is crucial for seniors. Many seniors experience difficulty standing for long periods of time, and a shower chair will allow them to rest if necessary. Look for shower chairs with nonslip rubber tips that will prevent them from sliding.
Nonslip Mats: Nonslip mats are essential for preventing slips and falls. You should place these directly inside the shower and right next to the shower.
Transfer Bench: If you don’t install walk-in showers in your care facility, then you’ll need to add transfer benches to all of the bathtubs. Transfer benches extend beyond the outside edge of the tub, and all one has to do is slide their weight from one end of the bench to the other to get out of the tub. This way, your residents don’t have to worry about stepping over a tub wall to get out of the tub.
4. Install Property Lighting
Installing proper lighting is one of the easiest things you can do to make your senior care facility safer. Falls are the leading cause of injury in senior care facilities, and a lot of times, seniors fall because they can’t see what’s in front of them.
The right lighting will ensure that your residents will easily be able to spot any obstructions or falling hazards. Oftentimes, all you need to do is add a few more lamps or change the wattage of your lightbulbs to make your facility safer.
5. Streamline the Medication Administration System
While the senior population makes up just 13.7% of the US population, they’re responsible for 40% of all prescription drug use. Senior citizens between the ages of 65 and 69 fill an average of 14 prescriptions per year, while those between the ages of 80 and 84 fill an average of 18 prescriptions per year.
Keeping track of all of your residents’ prescriptions can be a daunting task. Giving a resident the wrong dose or the wrong medication can have serious consequences, for both their health and your facility.
This is why it’s so important to have a highly organized system in place for administering medications. All medications should be placed in sealed packets, and your staff should always cross-reference medications to an official medication list before administering them to residents.
6. Hire the Right Staff
Hiring the right nursing home staff is vital for keeping your residents as safe and healthy as possible. Unfortunately, elder abuse is something that happens in the US, with around 5 million elders experiencing abuse each year.
A recent survey found that 36% of nursing home residents have witnessed at least one incident of elder abuse in the previous year. It should be your number one priority to keep your residents safe from abuse. The best way to ensure abuse doesn’t happen is to hire the right staff.
You should perform thorough background checks on all of your staff members before hiring. Make sure to check their references as well. Also, train your staff to spot the signs of nursing home abuse, and teach them what to do if they suspect someone else on the staff is acting abusively toward other residents.
Senior Care Facilities: Time to Make Your Facility Safe
Now that you know how to make senior care facilities safer, it’s time to make use of these tips. With these tips, your care facility will be a safe and healthy environment for your residents.
Be sure to check back in with our blog for more senior care tips and tricks.