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Fall Risk Prevention Checklist from Nightingale’s Professional Caregivers in Phoenix

Fall Risk Prevention

Fall risk prevention is easier with this handy checklist.

Each year, thousands of older Americans fall at home. Many of them are seriously injured, or worse. Falls are the leading cause of injury death among those 65 and older. Falls are often due to hazards that are easy to overlook but easy to fix. Many falls can be prevented by making simple environmental, personal and lifestyle changes.

This checklist from the Phoenix home health care agencies families trust at Nightingale Homecare will help you find and fix hazards in your home. The checklist details hazards found in each room of your home and identifies what you can do to correct the hazards. Your home health care team can also assess your specific risk of falling and suggest ways to prevent falls.

FLOORS 

When you walk through a room, are floor surfaces uneven?

  • Repair uneven surfaces in the home. 

When you walk through a room, do you have to walk around furniture, paper, boxes or clutter?

  • Ask someone to move the furniture so your path is clear.
  • Remove boxes and clutter to open up passageways.

Do you have throw rugs on the floor?

  • Remove the rugs or use double sided tape or a non-slip backing so the rugs won’t slip.
  • Check rugs and mats periodically to see if backing or tape needs to be replaced. 

Are floors waxed?

  • Do not wax floors; it makes them more slippery. If floors must be waxed, use non-slip wax.

Do you have to walk over or around wires or cords?

  • Coil or tape cords and wires next to the wall. If needed, have an electrician put in more outlets.
  • Arrange furniture so that outlets are near lamps and appliances to eliminate the use of extension cords.

STEPS AND STAIRS

Are there papers, shoes, books, or other objects on the stairs?

  • Pick up things on the stairs.
  • Always keep objects off the stairs.

Are some steps broken or uneven?

  • Fix loose or uneven steps.
  • Even small differences in steps’ surfaces or riser heights can lead to falls.

Are you missing a light over the stairway?

  • Have an electrician put in an overhead light at the top and bottom of the stairs.
  • Use the maximum wattage bulb allowed by the light fixture.
  • Reduce glare through indirect lighting, shades or globes on light fixtures.

Do you have only one light switch for your stairs?

  • Have an electrician put in a light switch at the top and bottom of the stairs.

Is the carpet or flooring on the steps loose or torn?

  • Make sure the carpet or flooring is firmly attached to every step. You can also attach non-slip rubber treads to the stairs, or paint the stairs with non-skid paint.

Are the handrails loose or broken or only on one side of the stairs?

  • Fix loose handrails or put in new ones.
  • Make sure handrails are on both sides of the stairs and go the length of the stairs.

Are stair steps difficult to see?

  • Paint a contrasting color on the top front edge of all steps so you can see the stairs

better.

  • Apply non-skid and colored tape on the outer edges of the steps.

Evaluate stair access; would a ramp or stair glide/stair lift be appropriate?

  • Install stair ramp or stair glide/lift as appropriate.

FLOOR PLAN LAYOUT

Is it possible to modify the living areas of the home?

  • Consider modifying the layout of the home to keep all living areas to one level of the home.

KITCHEN 

Are the things you use most often on high shelves?

  • Move items in your cabinets to lower shelves, about waist level.
  • Install shelves and cupboards at an easy-to-reach level.
  • Use a pole reaching device to access items on higher shelves.

BATHROOMS

Is the tub or shower floor slippery?

  • Put a non-slip rubber mat or self-stick strips on the tub or shower floor.
  • Use a shower chair or shower board with a hand-held shower head while showering.

Do you need some support when you get in and out of the tub, or up from the toilet?

  • Have a handyman who is qualified put in grab bars next to the tub and toilet.

BEDROOMS

Is the light near the bed hard to reach?

  • Place a lamp close to the bed where it is easy to reach.

Is there something sturdy to hold onto next to the bed to help you get out of bed?

  • Place a heavy piece of furniture next to the bed.
  • Have a qualified handyman install a grab rail onto the wall.
  • Use a cane or walker for support.

Is the path from your bed to the bathroom dark? 

  • Install a nightlight so you can see where you are walking.
  • Keep a flashlight near the bed.
  • Evaluate and add lighting throughout the home
  • Put in brighter bulbs. Use lamp shades to reduce glare.

CHAIRS AND TABLES

Are chairs and tables sturdy, without casters?

  • Avoid tripod or pedestal tables. Tables should have four sturdy legs.
  • Remove casters from chairs and tables.

Are frequently used chairs equipped with arm rests and high backs?

  • Using arm rests makes it easier to sit down into or to stand up from a chair. High backs provide support for the neck and also provide support when transferring weight.

Are frequently used chairs high enough to ensure ease in standing?

  • Place firm cushions in chairs with low seats.
  • Consider using a chair lift to help you get in and out of the chair.

At Nightingale Homecare, we’re dedicated to fall risk prevention. We are always pleased to provide a safety assessment of the home for the seniors we serve and our Paces fall prevention program offers seniors additional protection from falls. Call us at (602) 504-1555 to request an in-home consultation to learn more ways we’re helping seniors as a top-rated Phoenix home health agency serving the surrounding areas.

Vision Changes & Fall Risk: Scottsdale Respite Care Experts Share Tips

Vision Changes

Most seniors experience vision change, making them twice as likely to experience multiple falls as those with normal vision.

People with vision loss are almost twice as likely to experience multiple falls as those with normal vision. For those with vision loss, everyday tasks such as grocery shopping or navigating crowded spaces can be a source of anxiety. Limited vision also may mean risking a fall away from home, leading many to become homebound and isolated.

Changes in Vision as We Age

Most seniors experience the following normal vision changes that are associated with the aging process. In addition, there are age-related eye conditions that will result in vision impairment.

  • Increased need for light:
    • This is a result of a smaller pupil and aging lens. A senior requires four to ten times more light than a younger person.
  • Reduced visual acuity:
    • After age 60, our ability to see clearly declines. This makes it hard to see steps, or you may not be able discern a curb at the end of a sidewalk. If you have reduced visual acuity, you may be more sensitive to glare.
  • Increased sensitivity to glare:
    • Even though you may need a brighter light source than a younger person, your vision can be reduced by glare. Examples include sunlight shining through a window then reflecting off shiny surfaces, glass tables, waxed floors, or bright light from unshielded bulbs.
  • Difficulty adapting to light and dark:
    • You may not be able to adjust to different light levels, especially in low light. This makes walking to the bathroom at night a significant fall risk.
  • Reduced contrast sensitivity:
    • A loss of sensitivity to detect contrast effects your ability to recognize objects or faces, textures and patterns.
  • Decreased depth perception:
    • You may find it difficult to determine how close or how far away an object is. This makes the detection of how high or low a step is very difficult. You may have trouble estimating the height of a step and misplace your foot, leading to a trip or fall. You may think that carpet is uneven and alter your balance and walking to accommodate the misperception. It also makes it difficult to perceive objects in areas of shadows, low light or bright lights.
  • Seeing spots that block central vision due to age-related macular degeneration:
    • This makes it hard to detect obstacles in your path, and difficult to walk across streets or a parking lot.
  • Decreased visual field due to glaucoma:
    • Your peripheral vision is very important to driving or walking. If you have peripheral field loss and are looking straight ahead, your lack of peripheral vision will not alert you to dangers coming at you. People with peripheral vision loss also experience night blindness, meaning vision might okay during day but impaired at night.
  • Visual changes due to medications:
    • Evaluate all medications with your health care team when you notice changes in vision. Even medications you have been on long-term may be affecting your vision.

Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Falls Due to Vision Changes

You want to be able to move about confidently and safely and to detect dangerous obstacles such as tripping hazards, stairs, curbs, moving vehicles, or people in enough time to react safely.

View Falls as Controllable

For those with vision loss, falling may be inevitable. Knowing this keeps many feeling like it’s too risky to leave the house. Learning how to recover from a fall unassisted can help alleviate fear and regain the confidence to leave the house again.

The Scottsdale respite care experts at Nightingale Homecare suggest the following:

Correct Visual Problems

  • Get an annual eye exam.
  • Correct problems with new glasses and keep them clean at all times.

Optimize Lighting

  • Optimal lighting conditions include more than one light source in a room and higher wattage light bulbs.
  • Use even lighting throughout home.
  • Install night lights to navigate in dark rooms and hallways.
  • Use natural light from windows.
  • Give yourself extra time to adjust when going from a well-lit to a dimly-lit room. 

Reduce Glare

  • Pause to adjust to the change between dark to bright environments.
  • Do not wax your floors.
  • Wear sunglasses outdoors.
  • Avoid directly facing the sun.
  • Cover bulbs with a shade.

Improve Contrast

  • Stairs: Use bright, non-skid paint or tape to contrast the edge of each step.
  • Floors: Use colored tape across thresholds when floors are of different heights.
  • Furniture and Carpeting: Remove clutter and keep pathways clear. Selecting contrasting colors or patterns in furniture and flooring can help. 

Improve Bathroom Safety

  • Install grab bars.
  • Use brightly colored rugs that are secure on the floor with rubber non-skid backings. 

Low Vision Rehabilitation Evaluation

Studies show that people start losing independence when their corrected visual acuity drops to 20/60 or worse. Most health insurances cover low vision rehabilitation examinations. A low vision specialist can evaluate the degree and type of vision loss you have, prescribe appropriate low vision aids, recommend non-optical adaptive devices, and help you learn how to use them.

Finding a Low Vision Specialist

To find a low vision specialist near you, go to www.whatislowvision.org and click on “find a low vision specialist.”

If You Do Not Have Insurance Coverage

EyeCare America, a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), has several programs designed to meet the needs of those who don’t have vision insurance. To find out more about EyeCare America’s programs, call (877) 887-6327. If you are eligible, you will receive the name of a volunteer eye doctor in your community, along with instructions for making an appointment.

Contact Nightingale Homecare for additional resources related to vision changes and aging, or to schedule a free in-home consultation to discover more ways we can help!

Medicare Home Health Services and Patient Choice

After a lengthy hospital or rehabilitation  facility stay, family members and their aging loved one may find it difficult to proactively take the “next step” of choosing the proper post-acute service provider for their  home care needs. If this happens to be the dilemma you face, facility case managers or discharge planners with helpful recommendations may provide welcome direction. However, some patients are finding that they are not assisted on making an informed choice on post-acute home care and instead, facility representatives are making the choice for them.

In this blog post, Nightingale Homecare offers a few highlights on the patient’s right to chose elderly home health care in Scottsdale , Phoenix , Glendale , Paradise Valley and beyond, based on standards of practice for case management.

All patients have the right to freedom of choice of providers for in home nursing care in the Phoenix Metro area and across the country. Discharge planners and/or case managers have legal and ethical obligations to honor this right.

Read more about government regulations in patient choice for home health care here.

There are a number of sources of this right as follows:

  • All patients have a common law right, based upon court decisions, to control the care provided to them, including who renders it. Thus, when patients, regardless of payor source or type of care, voluntarily express preferences for providers, their choices must be honored, as specified in the Medicare guidelines.
  • Federal statutes of the Medicare and Medicaid Programs guarantee Medicare beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients the right to freedom of choice of providers. When Medicare and Medicaid patients voluntarily express a preference for a home health agency, these choices must be honored.

The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (BBA) requires hospitals to develop a list of home health agencies that meet the following criteria:

  • Are Medicare-certified;
  • Provide services in geographic areas where patients reside; and
  • Ask to be on the list.

Patients cannot make choices about the care they wish to receive unless they have information about all applicable services available, including skilled home health care and private medical and non-medical care in Scottsdale , Phoenix and the surrounding areas. Discharge planners and facility case managers, therefore, have an ethical obligation to provide information about medical home health care and  private medical/high tech care and non-medical care in Scottsdale, Phoenix and the surrounding areas, to all patients who may benefit from them.

At Nightingale Homecare, a provider of home health care in Scottsdale, and the Phoenix metro area, we know the comfort and healing power that comes with being home when recovering from a hospitalization, long-term illness or surgery. That’s why our top-rated services include everything from non-medical private custodial care  to highly skilled medical care services.  Our services range from a brief visit to 24 hour around the clock care, all provided in the comfort of your own home.  Give Nightingale Homecare a call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to learn more our caring staff is always available to assist you, 24 hours, 365 days a year, including holidays.

 

 

Posted in Blog on April 8th, 2014 · Comments Off on Medicare Home Health Services and Patient Choice

Activities for Homebound Seniors

Whether you’re homebound for a few weeks due to surgery or indefinitely due to advanced stages of illness, one thing remains the same; staring at the same four walls on a daily basis can bring on the boredom. In addition to addressing boredom, home healthcare workers in Scottsdale, Paradise Valley and the surrounding Phoenix Metropolitan area, monitor for other physical ailments (i.e. bedsores, insomnia, depression, nutritional needs and weight changes) in their homebound clients.

So in an effort to ward off the monotony blues, Nightingale Homecare offers these activity ideas for homebound seniors:

  • Explore the world, while staying home: Don’t let the internet intimidate you. Have a home healthcare worker or family member get you set up and let the adventures begin! Things like looking up your alma mater, online gaming, staying in touch with family and friends via e-mail, skype or social sites and researching to your heart’s content will keep things interesting.
  • Window to the world: Even if you’re bedridden, you can still keep the view outside your window intriguing. Activities like people-watching or planting that attracts birds and other wildlife can cheer up your day.
  • Board Games: From chess to Scrabble, card games to puzzles, games are the perfect way to keep mental stimulation up and connect with family and friends. A senior homecare provider can also provide that connection when family and friends are not available.
  • Write a letter or give someone a call: It’s a simple gesture but the rewards can be great. Staying socially connected gives you something to look forward to and provides you with a change of pace by listening to others stories and daily happenings. If your unable to write letters due to your physical ailment, your senior homecare provider is always ready to assist!
  • Get creative or take on something new: Activities like coloring or painting, can be surprisingly fun at any age. Or maybe now is the perfect opportunity to learn that one skill you’ve always wanted to such as drawing, knitting, crocheting, calligraphy, working with modeling clay or writing poetry. Listening to music, books on tape or lectures can be mentally stimulating as well.

At Nightingale Homecare, a provider of in home nursing care in Paradise Valley, and the surrounding Phoenix area, we know just how important it is to keep our clients mentally active. Our home healthcare workers in Paradise Valley and the surrounding Phoenix area go beyond the basics to truly connect with your family members and provide support that promotes independence, stability, and fulfillment. Call Nightingale Homecare (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to learn more about our innovative and compassionate senior homecare services.

Posted in Blog on March 19th, 2014 · Comments Off on Activities for Homebound Seniors

Serving Others When Home Bound

For seniors who were quite active outside the home, suddenly finding themselves homebound can seem like a cruel prison sentence. Without their normal routine and hobbies to look forward to, again adults can easily start to feel useless and slip into depression. But with a little creativeness on their part and some help from a family member or a caregiver of elderly home care, seniors can regain their sense of usefulness by serving others.

Nightingale Home Care, a provider of elderly home care in Scottsdale and the Phoenix area, offers these tips on how to help others while homebound.

If your aging loved one has a fondness for crafts or can knit, sew or crochet try these ideas:

  • Knit or crochet robes for hospital patients, nursing home patients, geriatric centers or the Red Cross.
  • Knit  slippers with non-skid pads for hospitals or nursing home patients

Not a seamstress extraordinaire? No worries, try a simple craft such as:

  • Making greeting cards by cutting pictures from magazines, journals, etc. and gluing them onto folded paper, rubber stamp messages inside and place in new envelopes. A set of cards can be gifted a local veterans hospital, whose patients could send them to friends and family.

Other social services can be performed from the home including:

  • A pen pal program with a class in a local school.
  • A reminiscence club where each senior records one page of memories a week,   written or recorded for their families.
  • Assisting major non-profit companies with regular bulk mailing. Some organizations will deliver the boxes to be sorted and labeled, and then collect them later.

If your aging loved one needs help to continue to volunteer, consider hiring private nurses or caregivers in Scottsdale or surrounding Phoenix area like those at Nightingale Home Care, to assist your senior with various projects and help them maintain their independence. Give Nightingale Home Care a call (602) 504-1555 or contact us online to learn more about elderly home care or private nursing in Scottsdale, Phoenix and Paradise Valley.

Posted in Blog on March 10th, 2014 · Comments Off on Serving Others When Home Bound