On July 28th, The Joint Commission announced that it has expanded its Speak Up campaign to include fall prevention strategies for seniors. The Speak Up program is an award-winning safety program that builds awareness about common health-related issues, such as medication errors, pain management, communication with medical professionals, and preventing errors with medical tests and surgeries.lamp

Falls are the second leading cause of injury-related deaths in people over the age of 65, and they are the most common cause of injuries and hospitalizations among the elderly, according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, noted in the Commission's news release.

Fall prevention is also a part of the Healthy People 2010 program, led by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Healthy People 2010 aims to identify the most common preventable threats to health and develop campaigns and public initiatives to reduce these risks.

Fall prevention is also an important component of many assisted living safety programs. Most facilities incorporate their own staff training and safety programs in order to help prevent falls among their residents. In fact, several facilities have been recognized by the Assisted Living Federation of America (ALFA) for their outstanding fall prevention programs.

The Joint Commission's fall prevention initiative offers tips and best practices for reducing and preventing falls in both home and facility settings, including:

  • Exercising to improve strength and balance.
  • Making small changes to your home, such as removing throw rugs and using non-slip mats in the bath tub.
  • Using precautions, such as turning lights on when entering a room, keeping the home de-cluttered and walkways open, and wearing appropriate shoes.
For more information on fall prevention, you can download The Joint Commission's Fall Prevention brochure.

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