PATIENT SAFETY: Keeping older adults safe at home
MaryAnn Edelman MS, RN, CNS
Carmel T. Ficorelli MSN, RN, FNP

January 2012 
Volume 42  Number 1
Pages 65 - 66
  PDF Version Available!

ABOUT 20% of the population in the United States will be age 65 or older by 2030.1 We can expect health problems to increase as our society ages. This article focuses on assessing older adults and intervening to improve safety in the home. It addresses fall prevention and medication safety.About one of every three older adults who lives in the community falls once every year.2 Falls are the primary cause of injury-related deaths in this population, and many of these deaths occur after months of medical care and treatment.3Many older adults have sensory impairments, including impaired hearing and vision, that contribute to fall risk. Their ability to adjust to night vision is decreased, and they need up to three times the amount of light that younger adults need to see well.Older adults may experience altered depth perception that can put them at risk for falls. Functional limitations that impede their mobility and ability to engage in activities of daily living also increase the risk of falls and may ultimately contribute to placement in a long-term-care facility.3Optimal nursing care can help keep older adults on their feet and in their own homes. A comprehensive nursing assessment can minimize their risks for injury, hospitalization, or long-term-care placement. (See Assessing older adults for fall risk.)Conducting a focused geriatric assessment as part of the standard assessment can also improve older adults' quality of life and keep them as independent as possible for as long as possible.4Best practices for fall risk assessment include the Hendrich II fall risk model (which includes the "get up and go" test), the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living, and the Housing Enabler (in home settings). These assessment tools involve obtaining a thorough health history (including chronic diseases, elimination patterns, and medications) and physical assessment, including mental status and gait.5 The Hendrich II fall risk model considers being male an independent

Purchase Now !

To purchase this item, follow the instructions below. If you’re not already logged in, be sure to enter your login information below to ensure that your item is saved to your File Drawer after you purchase it.

Not a member? Join now for Free!

1) If you're not already logged in, enter your information below to save this item in your File Drawer for future viewing.

User name:


Forgot your user name or password?
2)  If you have a coupon or promotional code, enter it
here.(If not, just click Continue.

Digital Coupon: (optional)

3)  Click Continue to go to the next screen, where
you'll enter your payment details.

jQuery UI Accordion - Default functionality

For life-long learning and continuing professional development, come to Lippincott's NursingCenter.

Nursing Jobs Plus
Featured Jobs
Recommended CE Articles Recommended Nursing Articles Evidence Based Practice Skin Care Network NursingCenter Quick Links What’s Trending Events