Slips, trips and falls result in some of the most common injuries in the home healthcare environment, and caregivers, clients and their family members are all at risk. However, most of these accidents can be prevented with proper awareness and safety precautions.
Here is our roundup of 25 tips to prevent slips, trips and falls:
- Carpets, rugs and mats—Watch out for loose, torn, bunching or curling floor coverings. Straighten out or remove when not in use.
- Damaged flooring tiles—Look out for broken or missing tiles. Repair or replace damaged tiles.
- Floor wax or cleaners—Remember cleaning products can make wood, tile and laminate floors extra slick. Watch your step.
- Dirty floors—Understand that dirt, food, and grime can also cause a trip or slip hazard. Always keep floors cleaned.
- Spilled liquids—Look for wet spots when entering a room and always clean up spills immediately.
- Pooled water—Note any floor surfaces where affected by drainage, leaks or condensation and wipe dry.
- Cracked or lifted concrete—Check concrete surfaces for cracks or slabs lifting unevenly and note trouble spots.
- Uneven outdoor terrain—Remember that outdoor sidewalks, yards and parking lots can also cause a trip and fall.
- Cords and wires—Examine and clear walkways of power cords, telephone cords, extension cords and other wires and cords.
- Congested walkways—Realize that boxes, furniture, toys or clutter can also congest walkways and cause a hazard if not cleared.
- Open drawers and cabinets—Look for any drawers or cabinets left open and close to avoid running into them.
- Doorstops—Check for fixed and moveable doorstops near entryways. Clear the path around it if necessary.
- Holiday decorations—Make sure holiday decorations are safely out of paths of travel and not causing a hazard.
- Potted plants—Plants and flowers on the floor in addition to furniture can also cause a trip hazard.
- Animals and pets—Request that clients remove animals during treatment, so they are not underfoot.
- Stairs—Avoid using stairs that are cluttered or damaged. Inform the client or family member of any problem areas.
- Ladders and step stools—Try to avoid using unfamiliar ladders and step stools. Always inspect the condition before using.
- Ramps—Ramps can be dangerous if they are in poor condition, missing handrails or covered in snow and ice.
- Damaged or missing handrails—Always use handrails for steps and ramps. Report damaged or missing rails right away.
- Poor lighting—Watch out for rooms and hallways that don’t have adequate lighting. Request low wattage and burned out bulbs be replaced.
- Obstructed visibility—Be on the lookout for areas where visibility is impaired due to furniture or other items. Clear obstructions where possible.
- Medical equipment—Walkers, canes, oxygen tanks and other equipment can also cause trips. Keep clear during treatment.
- Controlled substances—Understand that medications, intoxicants and other substances could increase the risk of a slip or fall.
- Personal fitness—Know the level of fitness of the client and yourself. Poor wellness can contribute to an accident.
- Footwear—Encourage caregivers and clients to wear appropriate slip-resistant footwear in good condition.
Hazards will vary for each home environment and conditions may change frequently. Caregivers need to evaluate the risks for each client home and communicate with clients and client families to minimize hazards where possible. In a home healthcare setting, not all risks can be eliminated, yet by having awareness of the risks and taking proper safety precautions, employees can greatly reduce the risk of a slip, trip or fall.