The best elderly fall prevention devices enable the older adult and/or their caregiver to take...
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Fall Prevention vs. Fall Mitigation: What’s the difference?| Written by: Eunice Yang, PhD.
Caregivers are all well aware of keeping fall rates to a minimum in their organizations. And with older adults, caregivers understand that preventing falls is the best way of ensuring they maintain their independence for as long as possible. But what is the primary difference between fall mitigation and fall prevention?
|Fall Prevention||Fall Mitigation|
|A long-term strategy that focuses on delaying the risk of falling.||A near real-time care strategy that focuses on reducing the immediate risk of falling.|
|Actions that influence health outcomes on the long-term horizon.||Actions that minimizes the chance of a fall in near-real time.|
Both are strategies for caregivers and care organizations to consider, but they have different outcomes.
Examples of Fall Prevention Strategies
There are variety of strategies to prevent falls on the long-term horizon, including:
- Conducting fall risk assessments: In hospitals, nursing homes, and home health, seniors are evaluated for their risk of falling using standardized assessment tools that measure their abilities to perform activities of daily living. Those who are identified as high-risk are provided with additional fall prevention safety measures.
- Staff education: Nurses, aides, and other staff members receive education and training on fall prevention strategies, including identifying risk factors, monitoring patients and residents for signs of instability, and providing assistance with mobility.
- Environmental modifications: Changes are made to the physical environment to reduce the risk of falls. This includes installing grab bars in bathrooms, removing tripping hazards, and ensuring that walkways are clear and well-lit.
- Medication management: Medications that increase the risk of falling are closely monitored, and dosage adjustments or alternative medications may be prescribed.
- Exercise programs: Physical therapy and exercise programs are implemented to improve strength, balance, and mobility in patients and residents.
Examples of Fall Mitigation Strategies
Fall mitigation focuses on influencing outcomes near real-time. Fall mitigation care involves knowing in advance a compromise in health so care can be delivered exactly at the right time and in near real-time. However, this is hard because certain conditions, diseases, and medications make it unpredictable to know exactly when a chance of falling could occur. One of the best fall mitigation care is providing constant supervision. This level of care is most often provided by family members, paid caregivers, and residential care organizations.
Chuck Smith is 85 years old and recently fell during the middle of the night as he walked to his bathroom. His daughter who lives with him is worried and concerned for his safety. Chuck is evaluated by his doctor who recognizes that Chuck shows signs of balance difficulties and has a high chance of falling again.
What does preventive care look like? His doctor refers him to a physiotherapy clinic where he is taught exercises to improve his balance and coordination skills. His doctors want to make sure that he doesn't fall again. They made his living room and bedroom a safer place for him by removing rugs and creating a clear path for him to use his walker.
What does fall mitigation care look like? His doctors recommend that he receive supervised care, especially during the night. His daughter is considering hiring an in-home caregiver who can stay with Chuck while she is at work.
Fall prevention and fall mitigation can both reduce the chances of falling, but they have some key differences.
Walking canes, proper shoes, and eyeglasses help older adults to maintain balance and prevent falls, while fall mitigation helps the older adult keep safe, letting them know exactly when their walking pattern is compromised and providing real-time feedback they can take to avoid a fall.
Read about additional ways to keep older adults safe here.
The primary difference between fall prevention and fall mitigation is a matter of time. Fall prevention uses interventions for improved outcomes in the future. Fall mitigation comes down to near-term awareness, actions, and benefits.
How can organizations start mitigating fall-related issues? No singular action or solution exists to this complex problem. With the help of technology, organizations can be equipped to address the problem more effectively.
OK2StandUP is the first AI fall mitigation solution that enables caregivers to mitigate falls. Learn more about this technology here.