Falls prevention is a key risk management issue in residential aged care facilities – and no wonder.
According to the Australian and New Zealand Falls Prevention Society, close to one in three adults over the age of 65 experience one or more falls per year. Furthermore, falls account for nearly 40% of injury-related deaths in this demographic.
Your next aged care centre refurbishment offers a great opportunity to better manage fall-related risks with carefully-selected fixtures and flooring.
So, in this blog, we explore a few options for improving falls prevention through design and safer floor surfaces.
When it comes to selecting floor surfaces for your aged care centre, slip-resist qualities are an obvious feature to look for. Anti-slip vinyl, rough tile, and carpets with short, dense pile can all help to prevent falls because they are not slippery and provide greater traction for those walking on them.
Because uneven surfaces can create tripping hazards, another key consideration for flooring is to ensure that your floor surfaces are even. This includes limiting changes between flooring types, as the places these transitions occur can create an uneven surface.
At first glance, lighting may not seem nearly as important as floor surfaces for preventing falls. However, adequate lighting that provides proper illumination and reduces false contrasts works hand-in-hand with safe flooring to prevent falls by ensuring your residents can see where they’re stepping and aren’t given false information about the surfaces they’re walking on.
Fixtures and fittings such as handrails and grab bars can help to prevent falls by offering extra support for residents as they move about rooms and hallways. Stairs should have handrails on both sides to assist your residents in climbing up and down. Similarly, baths, showers, and toilets should have grab rails to support sitting, rising, standing, and moving.
Despite all your best efforts, it’s likely that falls will still occur in your aged care centre. As such, it’s a good idea to consider design features that can help to minimise injuries from falls. For example, protruding or sharp corners can cause terrible injuries when a person falls, so it’s a good idea to remove and limit these features where possible.
If you’re considering refurbishing your aged care centre, Premis Solutions can help.
Contact us today to discuss your plans for your next refurbishment.