Commissioning care homes: common safeguarding challenges
Common safeguarding issues – Falls
Residents should be supported to stay as active and independently mobile as possible and the support they need should be recorded in their care plans. Some people who are frail or have mobility problems may be at greater risk of falling. The consequences of falls can be very costly for both the individual – in terms of their health, wellbeing and mobility – and for services. Following a fall, the individual may require more intensive services for longer and, in some cases, may never return to previous levels of mobility. A fall does not automatically indicate neglect and each individual case should be examined in order to determine whether there is a safeguarding concern. There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the risk of falls while keeping residents active and mobile.
- All residents are assessed on the risk of falls and care plans reflect the support needed by individuals to remain active and mobile.
- Individuals are supported to make decisions about how they may reduce their risk of falling.
- Where there are concerns about a resident's capacity to understand the risk of falling, the outcome of a capacity assessment is recorded in the person's care plan.
- Any restrictions or restraint used to reduce the risk of falls, for people lacking capacity to manage their own risk, is evidenced in records of the best interest decision-making process and in the care plan.
- All care staff are trained and competent in moving and handling procedures.
- Appropriate referrals are made to community health care professionals following risk identification.
- There is a clear process for staff to follow when someone has fallen, including how to help the person up, when to refer for medical attention and when to refer for safeguarding.
- Appropriate aids and equipment to reduce the risk of falls are provided promptly following risk identification.
- The home provides good nutritional care and residents are properly hydrated; poor nutrition and hydration can cause dizziness and weakness. (see SCIE A a glance 3: Nutritional care and older people)
- The home provides opportunities for residents to exercise and individuals are supported to stay as mobile as possible.
- The home has links with the local falls prevention service.