The main aim of care homes for the elderly is to provide a service that ensures their emotional and physical wellbeing in order to continue living a happy life. It is therefore essential that a care home setting is warm and welcoming but also guarantees safety for their residents.
The elderly are three times more likely to fall or slip in a care home than within their own home and when this occurs the repercussions can be extremely detrimental for that person. Not only are the elderly more likely to sustain serious injuries such as broken bones, fractures and head injuries but it can seriously affect their confidence and independence and result in a person becoming isolated.
Additional risk factors such as Dementia means patients can be even more vulnerable to falls due to confusion, disorientation and restlessness. It is important that we take extra precautions with such groups by safeguarding these individuals from harm and putting extra measures in place to reduce the risk of falls. “The Health and Social Care Act 2008 says that patients must be ‘protected against the risks associated with unsafe and unsuitable premises, by means of…suitable design and layout…maintenance and …operation’.”
Inevitably the most efficient action you can take to reduce slips and falls is to invest in anti slip flooring. Carpet may seem like the simple solution, however this isn’t appropriate in spaces such as bathrooms and kitchens which are likely to become contaminated with liquids or easily soiled.
Likewise places with a high amount of footfall such as communal dining areas need flooring that will be durable in order to stand the test of time. Installing poor quality flooring with minimal slip resistant properties is likely to need replacing regularly.
Safe, slip resistant flooring however doesn’t need to look uninviting and industrial. We know it’s important to help service users feel as at home as possible and so a comfortable homelike atmosphere is essential. There are many products on the market today giving the option to choose from an array of different colours and designs in a huge range of different slip resistant materials.
Slip Testing and Maintenance
When choosing an appropriate flooring material, ensure that you have the safety of this tested before laying it. This can save you both time and money because it means if the flooring is not fit for purpose you can easily choose an alternative without having to rip the whole flooring back up.
It’s also highly recommended that you hire a professional to regularly test the anti-slip resistance on flooring as footfall and cleaning can reduce the anti-slipness rating over time. This should be carried out frequently to ensure your flooring is always up to government health and safety regulations in order to reduce slips and falls, especially in those high risk areas.
Not only are you protecting your service users from injury, but you will also cover yourself from potential lawsuits when you can evidence the safety measures you have in place. It’s also paramount that you maintain cleaning standards and immediately eliminate contamination to avoid further accidents occurring.
Additional Safety Features
There are numerous, simple features that can be implemented as part of your risk assessment to assist in reducing the likelihood of a fall or slip occurring in a care home. For instance, ensure that all areas within the environment are well lit. You can also install easy to read signs to direct residents to where they need to be with ease so they don’t wander into an environment that could be hazardous. Provide handrails so residents have that extra reassurance that there is always an additional support when needed, especially within high risk areas such as bathrooms and kitchens.
Additional Measures For Staff
Unfortunately, we can never fully eliminate the risk of a fall, so it is important that measures are in place to assist a resident following a fall. When a fall occurs, it is not only traumatic for the individual but for their care workers too.
Extra training for staff can reduce many anxieties around a fall and give confidence back to the workers to deal with the aftermath appropriately and effectively. Members of staff can be given checklists to follow for additional guidance in ensuring the environment is free from trip and fall hazards and to aid safety checks.
To ensure the safety of your patients as well as protecting your care home legally, it is important that you ensure the slip resistance of your flooring is up to government standards. Our specialists at National Testing can assist you in ensuring safety within your care home - You are guaranteed a welcoming service that will guide you every step of the way.