Today, the American Geriatrics Society provides several recommendations on the prevention of falls among the elderly population. First, the intervention should focus on adaptation or modification of the home environment to make it secure for elderly patients, who are vulnerable to the risk of falls. In fact, often elderly people fall at home and, if they are lonely, they have no one to help them, while they may suffer serious injuries while falling. However, the risk of falling may decrease and its negative effects minimized, if elderly patients create a safer home environment. For instance, the minimization of stairs or lowering steps can help patients to decrease the risk of falling. Proper lightening of the interior and exterior of homes is also very significant in terms of the prevention of falls among the elderly population.
Second, withdrawal or minimization of psychoactive medications can also contribute to the minimization of the risk of falls. As the medication can be one of possible causes of falls, the minimization of the medication or its full withdrawal can help patients to decrease the risk of falls. However, often patients cannot refuse from their medication and nurses should minimize psychoactive medication. At this point, it is worth mentioning the fact that often patients misuse medication or overdose medication that increases the risk of falls.
The management of postural hypertension is also very important in terms of the prevention of falls of the elderly population. Postural hypertension is one of possible causes of falls, which elderly people can hardly control. Hence, the management of postural hypertension can help nurses to prevent falls and related injuries of elderly patients.
Furthermore, the management of foot problems and footwear can help to prevent the problem of falls as well. In fact, elderly people often have foot problems that may provoke their frequent falls. Nurses should help patients to manage their foot problems and recommend proper footwear to minimize the risk of falls. Often elderly people fall because they wear inconvenient shoes. The simple change of footwear for a comfortable and suitable one can help patients to prevent the risk of falls.
In addition, nurses should encourage physical activities of elderly patients under the supervision of health care professionals, including exercises focused on balance, strength and gate training. In fact, physical exercises are very helpful to maintain balance, strength and gate training. More important, such exercises prevent the risk of falls of elderly people and help them to cope with their problems effectively. Moreover, physical activities improve the physical condition of patients that is another risk factor that may contribute to falls.
In such a way, the minimization of risk factors and the maintenance of good physical shape of the elderly population can lead to the effective prevention of falls among elderly patients. Nurses should be aware of existing factors that increase the risk of falls of elderly patients. Before nurses start working with elderly patients, they should study carefully their history, medication and assess their physical condition. In such a way, nurses will be able to understand the extent to which their elderly patients are vulnerable to falls. After that, they can follow the recommendations given above to prevent falls of elderly patients and to secure their health.