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Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Caregiver Tips - If Someone Falls

Safety comes first.

When I took classes for Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide, the teachers discussed what to do if you are working as a caregiver at someone's home, and the person you are assisting falls. If the person does not appear to be injured, you can call the local fire department for a free lift assist. If someone is injured dial 911 and ask for an ambulance.

The RN teaching the class advised us that you can call 911 to get the local fire department if you don't have the number handy to ask for the Free Lift Assist. If you have the non-emergency number for the fire department you can call that number. If you don't want to alarm the neighbors you can ask the fire department to leave the siren turned off.

In the skilled nursing facility, where I trained and worked, if someone fell we asked the person not to move. Next, we called for an LVN or Registered Nurse to check the person for injuries. Then a group of nurses and nursing assistants gently lifted the person from the floor in a manner that would avoid injury.

Sometimes people are injured from a fall, but they do not realize it at the time. A paramedic, nurse or medical professional can check people who have fallen before they are moved. The nursing school instructors taught us that moving someone who has an injury can make the injury worse or cause more injuries.

If the paramedics find there is an injury the person can be taken by car or ambulance to the emergency room.

My nursing class teachers advised us that frail seniors can have bones that fracture easily from pressure or from certain positions and their skin can be vulnerable to skin tears. They also bruise easily.

The instructors said letting the paramedics do the lifting is safer for the person who fell than doing it yourself. Lifting someone from the ground or floor could cause you to have an injury to the back, shoulders, or knees.

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