We all know how serious falls can be to elderly and vulnerable people. So it’s no surprise that the CQC will be taking a keen interest in the safety measures you’ve put in place to prevent them.
Think you’re ready to ace your CQC inspection? Our mock CQC inspection services will give you a thorough and accurate assessment of your current rating and where you can make improvements.
To start with, let’s take a look at how you can prevent falls and keep your service users safe.
Who’s most at risk of a fall?
People fall for all kinds of reasons. Some are preventable and some are just bad luck. When you’re assessing new service users, look out for people who are more likely to suffer a fall, namely:
- people with muscle weakness
- the visually impaired
- those with poor balance or mobility issues
- those with certain medical conditions, such as osteoporosis
- individuals who arrived malnourished
- people taking medication known to cause drowsiness or taking 2 or more medications (polypharmacy)
- people recovering from accidents or recent surgery.
Note that the UK’s 3 million osteoporosis sufferers are also at much greater risk of fragility fractures. In fact, hip fractures account for 1.8 million hospital stays and cost £1.1 billion every year to treat and manage.
Risks around the home
Identifying people most at risk of falling is just half the picture. Our mock CQC inspection will also look at physical risks present around your care home, just as the CQC will during their inspection.
But before we talk about how to adapt your space to make trips less likely, let’s think about the basics. Even if your staff aren’t helping every service user to get dressed, they should still keep an eye on what they’re wearing. Ill-fitting shoes, worn-down soles or footwear with poor grip are all more likely to contribute to a fall. Also think about clothes that trail; make sure scarves are tucked safely out the way, that trousers are the right length, and that long skirts don’t drag on the floor.
Next check the floor surfaces. Slippery, over-polished floors can present a hazard to staff and service users alike, as can long pile carpets. Avoid using rugs and mats that can flip up or wrinkle.
If you’re a home care provider, make sure you look at these things when you’re conducting your risk assessment. Home care service users who are more likely to struggle with stairs should have a stairlift fitted or arrange the furniture so they can live downstairs.
A helping hand
When you’re furnishing your care home, make sure you leave enough space for service users with impaired mobility to get around. That includes factoring in space for wheelchairs, walkers, sticks and for staff to assist those who need it.
Make sure your home is well-lit, that repairs are carried out quickly and that clutter is cleaned up promptly.
When you’re assessing home care service users, discuss whether they need help keeping the house tidy.
In bathrooms and other slippery areas, you should have rails fitted. Don’t let your service users lean on the sinks or towel rails to help them move around the bathroom.
Naturally, your care home should have ramp access. If a home care service user has a front doorstep, encourage them to have a ramp or a wall rail installed.
Can technology help prevent falls?
To get an Outstanding rating, the CQC wants to see innovation and a good use of technology. Falls prevention could be the perfect place to invest. Wearable technology can capture data to identify those at the highest risks of a fall, monitoring grip strength, hydration levels and muscle mass, for example.
Studies are also currently underway to develop AI systems that use sensors and cameras to capture movement and alert staff if a service user shows warning signs that they might fall.
How to manage falls
While you should take practical steps to reduce the chance of falls, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate that you have procedures in place when they do occur. First aid and medical help should be provided, and staff should be properly trained to know whether to help service users up or to wait until further assistance arrives.
Make sure you update care plans to include recovery and rehabilitation to help your service user get back on their feet. Understand that a fall can be traumatic and you should provide compassionate and emotional support as required, and reassure your other residents of the safety measures in place to prevent anyone else from falling.
Each fall should be properly recorded and analysed. Look into why it happened and any preventative measures you can take to stop someone else falling in the same place or for the same reason.
The rate of falls should be carefully monitored and you should regularly review the safeguards you have in place to make sure they’re adequate.
Being vigilant every day
To effectively monitor and prevent falls, your whole team should understand their role in helping to keep service users safe. There are things you can be doing every day to encourage better mobility and balance, such as appropriate strength exercises and making sure service users are well hydrated and eat a balanced diet.
To find out if your falls prevention measures are up to scratch, book a mock CQC inspection. Our experienced inspectors will identify opportunities for improvement and make sure you’re in the best possible position to keep service users safe and happy.
Call us 0333 444 5344 or email email@example.com today.