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In healthcare settings, there are many problems that influence the quality and safety of care. Patient-centered practice problems are the most significant in healthcare. One of those issues related, first of all, to patient safety and relevant to my practice setting, is the problem of falls of the elderly people.
Problem Statement and Rationale
Thus, the patient-centered practice problem under discussion is the one related to falls of the elderly. After interviewing a key leader in my practice setting, I came to the conclusion that falls of the elderly is a more burning problem than it is generally considered. According to data provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25% of Americans older than 65 fall every year (National Council of Aging, 2017). Moreover, falls are reasons for emergency department treatment of 2.8 million of older people each year (“Home and recreational safety,” 2017).
I have chosen this topic because is problem demands the development of solutions to increase patient safety. First of all, consequences of falls can be both immediate (such as traumas), and long-term (reduction of independent movement, leading to multiple falls and thus more serious injuries). Also, the problem of falls has not only health-related but also economic consequences because of increased costs for care of older patients injured as a result of a fall.
It is important to measure this problem properly (Spath, 2013). It will also help to assess the efficiency of the suggested interventions aimed to address the problem of falls of the elderly. Thus, the assessment of the problem of falls of the elderly can apply such measures as percentage of patients who fell in the hospital and at home; percentage of patients who were seriously injured or died; percentage of patients who experienced repeated falls within a month, three months, and half a year, percentage of falls among older patients after patient and physical education interventions. These measures will provide the vision of the situation with older patient falls and the possible improvements after the implementation of the interventions.
Ways to Address the Problem of Falls of the Elderly
To address the problem of falls of the elderly, it is necessary to define its risk factors. Apart from age, the major factors that increase the incidence of falls of the elderly are overdose of medication, reduction of physical activity, lack of balance, musculoskeletal degradation, and unsafe home environments (Terroso, Rosa, Torres Marques, & Simoes, 2013). Thus, it is necessary to eliminate or reduce these risks to influence the incidence of falls. One of the interventions is patient education including the development of some self-care habits (Yoder-Wise, 2015).
Proper use of medication, knowledge of their condition, principles of safe environment creation is likely to help elderly people to manage themselves more efficiently and thus reduce the incidence of falls. Another intervention is the promotion of physical activity to train balance and support musculoskeletal system (Ferretti, Lunardi, & Bruschi, 2013). Still, better results can be achieved through the complex approach.
In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the problem of falls of the elderly is critical for contemporary healthcare because such incidents can negatively influence the patient’s condition that is already not stable. Thus, the suggested interventions of patient and physical education should be provided with the involvement of healthcare facilities and families of patients to improve the quality of care and increase safety.
Ferretti, F., Lunardi, D., & Bruschi, L. (2013). Causes and consequences of fall among elderly people at home. Fizioterapia em Movimento, 26(4), 753-762.
National Council of Aging. (2017). Falls prevention facts. Web.
Spath, P. (2013). Introduction to healthcare quality management (2nd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.
Terroso, M., Rosa, N., Torres Marques, A., & Simoes, R. (2013). Physical consequences of falls in the elderly: A literature review from 1995 to 2010. European Review of Aging and Physical Activity, 11(1), 51-59. Web.
Yoder-Wise, P. S. (2015). Leading and managing in nursing (6th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby.