Trips and falls are a well-known hazard for the elderly but, for residents of care homes, the risk is even greater than for the general population. According to the Care Inspectorate, falls in care homes are three times more common than in the community, with approximately 1.5 falls per care home bed every year. The risk of a fall increases with age and the physical consequences can range from minor lacerations, sprains, and bruising to serious head injuries or fractures.
However, even when physical injury is slight, the psychological damage can leave care home residents fearful of falling, resulting in them becoming disengaged and withdrawn from social activities.
The Importance Of A Fall From Height Inspection
A fall from height inspection can help care home staff identify the risks to staff and residents so that preventative action may be taken. For elderly residents who may have restricted mobility, the causes of falls will be more varied than for younger or more mobile people living in the community.
In care homes, common causes of falls include:
- Trips on steps and stairs, particularly where a handrail is not present.
- Changes in floor level, for example, single steps between rooms or where adaptations to the building result in uneven floors. In these instances, a handrail is often not fitted.
- Carpet that is laid continuously over a change in floor height, which is difficult for residents with poor eyesight to see. Two carpets of different colours, or a single carpet with a variated pattern in contrasting colours, can help to overcome this problem.
- Construction sites where an open void makes it more likely that residents may fall below ground level. These areas should be securely contained with barriers and warning signs.
- Windows without restrictors can cause a resident or staff member to fall when leaning out.
- Falls from furniture, including beds, chairs, and slings. Risk assessments should consider the likelihood of this and assess the level of risk to each individual resident.
- Garden obstacles, such as low walls, steps, ponds, and raised beds, or gardening equipment left out in access areas.
The Dangers Of A Fall From A Window
Failure to properly assess the risks of a fall from height, and to take appropriate measures to prevent accidents, can lead to profound consequences, both for residents and for care home managers.
- In 2018, a nursing home manager was prosecuted after a resident known to be vulnerable to panic attacks died after falling from a second-floor window. Window restrictors, which prevent windows from opening more than 100mm, would have prevented the accident from occurring.
- In 2021, a Surrey care home was fined £80,000 after a resident died after falling from an outdated window that was secured only by a single metal chain.
- This year, a care provider was fined £100,000 for failing to prevent a 70-year-old resident from falling from a window. The window restrictors that had been fitted were not fit for purpose, could be easily overridden, and did not comply with relevant standards.
Our Guarantee Of Safe And Secure Window Fittings
At Mila Maintenance, we install Jackloc window restrictors on all our care home windows, thereby preventing them from being accidentally or manually released by care home residents. By choosing us to install your window restrictors, you can have absolute confidence that your residents and staff will be safe, while rooms can be ventilated to provide a healthy flow of clean air.
Contact Us To Find Out More
To find out more, or request a free, no-obligation quotation for your project, please call us on 0808 100 8881.
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