In a previous CNA training post, we discussed what you can do in the workplace to prevent patient falls. Before you can use this information effectively after CNA training, however, you must understand what issues and problems you need to be on the lookout for that could put your residents and patients at risk for experiencing falls.
Falls are common in nursing homes, patient homes, and hospitals, and are a huge problem that should never be taken lightly. Falls can lead to serious injuries, longer hospital stays, high medical costs for patients, and even death. It will be your responsibility after CNA training to prevent these falls, but also to understand why they occur.
After CNA Training: Why Patients Fall
There are several reasons that patients fall, including:
- Age- You will often notice that age plays a role in whether patients are more prone to falling. Older patients fall much more than younger ones.
- Vision- Patients with poor vision are more likely to fall, because they cannot see as well and often trip over items in their path they can’t see.
- Confusion- After CNA training, you will work with many patients. When one of these patients is confused, they are more likely to fall because they aren’t paying attention to the dangers around them. They may not realize their muscles are too weak to hold up their bodies, they may attempt to visit the bathroom on their own because they do not realize you are there to assist them, or they may feel confused about why they are in the hospital and try to find help, not realizing their call button is beside them.
- Medications- Patients sometimes fall because of the medications they are taking. Some medicines will make them dizzy or sleepy. Others may lower the patient’s blood pressure upon standing.
- Balance- During CNA training, you will be taught how to use a gait belt to assist patients with walking and transferring. You will most likely use this gait belt for patients with foot or leg injuries or patients who have recently had strokes. These patients do not walk properly, have a poor gait, and lack coordination and balance. This puts them at much greater risk for falling.
- Weak Muscles- Damaged nerves and weak muscles also play a role in causing falls, especially if a patient’s legs are weak.
- Diseases and Disorders- Patients with arthritis, nervous system issues, heart problems, head problems, and those with Parkinson’s disease are at an increased risk for falling. Heart, head, and nervous system problems can cause dizziness and weakness. Arthritis and other diseases of the bones can make impossible for a patient to stand and walk correctly because of stiff joints.
- Bodily Functions- If you are caring for a patient after CNA training that has been having trouble with incontinence, you need to keep a close eye on them. If they are unable to make it to the restroom before urinating or having a bowel movement, they are not only at risk for slipping in their own urine and stool, but other patients are at risk for falling because of it as well.
Know the Risk Factors for Falls After CNA Training
When you are working with patients after CNA training, preventing falls is extremely important. However, you can’t do so correctly if you don’t understand and know the risk factors for falls after CNA training.