June 20, 2023 | Terry Smith

Why are slow responses to falls in care homes dangerous?

Ensuring the safety and well-being of residents in care homes should be a top priority. Unfortunately, falls are a common occurrence in care home settings, posing significant risks to the elderly population.

The speed of the response to a fall can significantly influence the outcome for the patient, care home, and the system as a whole.

In this article, we will explore why slow responses to falls in care homes are dangerous and emphasize the importance of rapid falls response.

1. Increases risk of injury and further complications

When a resident experiences a fall, immediate medical attention is crucial to assess the extent of injuries and provide timely treatment. It’s a proven fact that delayed response times can worsen the physical consequences of falls, leading to more severe injuries and complications.

Even if a fallen person hasn’t sustained any injury as a direct result of falling, they could develop an injury whilst lying on the floor for a long time. Some of the serious complications associated with long lies include:

  • Pressure sores
  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia
  • Pneumonia
  • Acute kidney failure

Failure to address these injuries promptly may result in prolonged pain, limited mobility, and a decreased quality of life for the affected individuals.

Related article: What Is A Long Lie Fall? Causes, Impact, and Prevention


2. Psychological impact

Beyond physical harm, slow responses to falls can have a significant psychological impact.

Falls can be distressing and traumatic experiences for residents, especially if they are left unattended for a prolonged period. The fear of falling again, coupled with the anxiety caused by the lack of immediate help, can lead to a loss of confidence and independence.

Addressing falls promptly and offering appropriate emotional support can help residents regain their sense of security and prevent long-term psychological distress.


3. Legal and ethical impact

Care homes have a duty of care towards their residents, which includes providing a safe environment and timely assistance in case of emergencies. Slow responses to falls not only jeopardize the physical and emotional well-being of residents but can also have legal implications for the care facility.

Legal actions and potential lawsuits can arise if it is determined that the care home’s negligence or delayed response contributed to the severity of the fall or subsequent complications.

Ethically, it is essential for care homes to prioritize the safety and well-being of their residents and take immediate action to address falls and prevent harm.


4. Negative impact on system pressure

The further complications and injuries that could arise as a result of a slow response to a fall often mean that the faller has to be admitted and assessed in hospital. 

If the faller has suffered serious injuries such as pneumonia or kidney failure, they are likely to be needing an extended hospital stay and specialist treatment before being discharged.  

By simply improving the response time to a fall in a care home, there is potential to dramatically reduce the impact falls have on emergency services and the overall system.



Related articles

The Best Falls Lifting Equipment for Care Homes in 2023

Why do the elderly not often recover from falls? – 5 factors, with suggested solutions

The Best Post-Falls Assessment Tools For Care Homes In 2023



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Terry Smith

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