Social Networking Site for Caregivers Offers Falls Risk Assessment Tips

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007
This post was written by Melanie Matthews

In recent audio conferences on managing care transitions for the frail elderly, we've heard how conducting a falls risk assessment can help assure an elderly patient's safety and smooth the transition from hospital to home.  ShirleyBOARD.com, a social networking site for caregivers, offers a checklist in this area:

  • Reduce slipping hazards by removing throw rugs or securing them in place with double-sided carpet tape, tacks or rubber mats placed underneath. Do the same with stair treads.
  • Remove furniture that may be easy to trip over.
  • Replace door knobs with lever handles on all doors.
  • Remove thresholds from doorways and entryways that may be easy to trip over. Ramps are a good way to do this. 
  • Install sturdy, stainless-steel hand rails in the shower/bathtub and next to the toilet. Installing grab bars on the edge of the tub is a good idea too. Make sure all hand rails and grab bars are anchored securely. 
  • Install a walk-in shower to avoid the need to climb over the edge of a tub.
  • Put a rubber mat and a sitting bench in the bathtub/shower to eliminate slipping or loss of balance. 
  • Provide dustpans and brooms with long handles so that your loved one doesn’t have to bend over to pick up trash.
  • Put in nightlights in the bedroom and hallway so that your loved one doesn’t have to fumble around in the dark.
  • Make sure that all sitting furniture has arms so that your loved one can easily lower themselves or stand. Sitting surfaces should not be so low or high that your loved one has difficulty sitting in them or standing up out of them.

The ShirleyBoard is an online community for people caring for aging loved ones. Originally developed to help its founder with the responsibilities of caring for his aging mother diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005, the free site allows caregivers to centrally store important information, keep a log of daily activities, and network with other caregivers.

 

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