Fall prevention is more important than ever
- With the amount of money spent on medical care and lost wages for same-level fall injuries in 2011, you could have bought the five most expensive professional baseball teams* and still had more than $400 million left over.
- Slips, trips and falls will become more of an issue in the coming decades
- The workforce is aging
- The patient population is aging
- Workers and patients share the same environment of care
- Falls don't prevent themselves. We know how to prevent slips, trips, falls and the injuries that they cause.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) distilled some best practices in fall prevention for healthcare workers into the following document. Click on it to download.
In addition to the NIOSH document that advises healthcare organizations on controlling environmental hazards, here are some evidence-based activities that prevent falls among older adults by improving their balance and strength:
- Tai Chi
- Balance Classes
- Leg Strengthening Exercises
- Ballroom Dancing
These activities can be offered through on-site worksite wellness programs or subsidized (in whole or in part) by employers. As with many wellness activities, getting people to show up may be a challenge. Developing "social marketing" materials that speak to older workers may be one way to increase participation among older employees.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES (CLICK ON THE TITLE TO VIEW WEBPAGE):
Liberty Mutual Workplace Safety Index - A resource produced by the Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety
The Aging Healthcare Workforce: Employment and Occupational Injuries Among Workers in US Private Hospitals During 2010
Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention for Healthcare Workers - A document produced by NIOSH
Evaluation of a Comprehensive Slip, Trip and Fall Prevention Programme for Hospital Employees - The research on which NIOSH's guidance document is based