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Up to 27% of nursing home falls caused by environmental factors

As an older adult, you may have certain risk factors that make you more likely to fall and injure yourself than the general population. Diminishing eyesight and a decrease in your level of physical activity may make you more prone to falling, for example. However, research shows that, contrary to popular belief, living in a nursing home also makes you more likely to fall than living at home or alongside loved ones. Furthermore, an alarming percentage of nursing home falls result not from a resident’s own condition or risk factors, but rather, from environmental factors.

According to Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, somewhere between about 16% and 27% of all nursing home falls result from environmental factors. Just what might these environmental factors include? Environmental factors refer to anything related to where the resident lives, but in many cases, environmental factors that lead to falls include wet floors, icy sidewalks and so on.

If nursing home staff members fail to keep an orderly environment, for example, debris or misplaced items may lead to falls if you or other residents trip over them. Similarly, loose carpeting or misplaced wires may lead to falls, and a lack of handrails or supports may, too, make you more prone to falling and injuring yourself in a care facility.

When you do suffer a fall in a nursing home, you run the risk of experiencing a serious injury. Somewhere between 10% and 20% of nursing home falls lead to serious injuries, while somewhere between 2% and 6% lead to fractures. Even if falls do not result in serious injuries, they often cause older adults to withdraw because they fear falling again. Find more about fall-related injuries on our webpage.