Falls in care homes

If you or someone you care about is living in a care home, or thinking about moving to one, it is possible you may have questions about falls.

Why do falls happen to care home residents?

Moving to a care home does not mean a person is no longer at risk of falls. It is often a combination of reasons that leads to a fall. Here are a few possible things that might be involved:

  • health – for example eyesight, pain, muscle strength or hydration
  • medication – for example too many medications or certain types
  • environment – for example furniture, lighting or noise
  • other factors – for example footwear or walking aids.

If falls do happen, how can they be managed?

All care homes have plans for how to manage a fall. These can vary, but usually involve:

  • assessing the resident where they are to make initial decisions
  • giving first aid and calling emergency help if needed. If suitable, using trained techniques and sometimes equipment to help them up
  • reassessing, monitoring and getting further advice or help if needed
  • recording all information and where appropriate reporting to the right services.

How can care homes reduce falls?

As falls have many reasons there is not one simple answer to this question. By recording information about falls, care homes can find patterns. From the patterns care homes can find ways to reduce falls. The best ways can vary between different care homes.

Examples include:

  • checking footwear and foot health
  • physical activity programmes
  • good nutrition and hydration for residents
  • medication reviews
  • checking walking aids, hearing aids and glasses
  • staff training and ensuring good staffing levels
  • ensuring a safe environment
  • supporting residents with existing conditions.

Where can I get more information?

You can read this guide from the Care Inspectorate and NHS Scotland

If you are concerned about a care home resident having falls or who may be at risk of falls you can contact: