The Falls Management Program: A Quality Improvement Initiative for Nursing Facilities

Appendix B25: Ways Families Can Help Reduce Fall Risk

Reduce clutter in the room and bathroom

  • Take home items no longer needed by the resident.
  • Keep pathways clear at all times.
  • Watch for telephone and electrical cords in the walking area.
  • Keep the over bed table across the bed.
  • Make sure that the furniture you bring is stable and doesn't tilt if the resident leans on it. Don't bring in cardboard furniture, pedestal tables or tables with three legs. When you leave the room, take a quick look around. Do you see any clutter, cords, furniture or other items in pathways? Remove items or call for help from staff. Make sure the call light and personal items are within easy reach of the resident when you leave.

Safe shoes and slippers

  • All shoes and slippers should fit well and have a firm shape. Shoes should have a low, even heel. While some carpets may cause problems for residents who wear shoes with deep tread, generally speaking, all shoes and slippers should have some form of tread on the sole. Examples include tennis shoes with Velcro fasteners, oxford style shoes and canvas or leather slip-on shoes.
  • If a resident cannot wear safe shoes or slippers, use gripper socks instead.
  • Use gripper socks at night.

Safety during transfer and bathroom use

  • Always call for help from staff when you are unsure about helping your family member get out of bed or go to the bathroom. Do not transfer an unsteady resident alone.
  • Bring in easy-to-manage clothing such as pants with elastic bands, easy to pull up skirts and dresses, and items with Velcro fasteners.
  • Lock wheelchair brakes before transfer.
  • Use all prescribed seating items for a resident when she is in the wheelchair.

Help the patient to use low blood pressure precautions

  • Before the resident gets out of bed, ask her to sit on the edge and dangle her feet for a few minutes.
  • Encourage the resident to flex her feet backwards several times while sitting.
  • Remind the resident not to tilt her head backwards.
  • After meals and anytime the resident has been sitting for a while, encourage her to get up slowly and to use assistance. Report any complaints of dizziness.
Page last reviewed December 2017
Page originally created February 2010
Internet Citation: Appendix B25: Ways Families Can Help Reduce Fall Risk. Content last reviewed December 2017. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.