Given that falls are the largest cause of injuries among seniors in the United States, seniors falling out of bed is a major concern in geriatrics and caregiving. Depending on the height of the bed, a senior may become severely injured by falling out of bed. However, this issue can be difficult to pinpoint and prevent. Seniors may fall out of bed at night, and they will likely be disoriented and fatigued when the fall occurs. As such, a senior falling out of bed requires careful attention and creative solutions.
Below, we'll outline the causes and risk factors associated with seniors falling out of bed. Then, we'll provide tangible solutions to help keep your elderly patient or loved one safe from falls.
Seniors may fall out of bed for a wide range of reasons. Consider that seniors may either fall out of bed while they're asleep, usually from a rolling motion, or seniors may fall while trying to get up out of bed. Both of these scenarios pose a significant risk to seniors' health and wellbeing.
Underlying causes for seniors falling out of bed to include:
Debilitating injuries can result from falls in the elderly. Resultantly, falling is a risk not only to older adults' health and wellbeing but also to their independence. A serious fall could threaten a senior's ability to be self-sufficient, therefore shortening the amount of time they're able to age in place or avoid relocation.
Falling poses a large risk for bone fractures in the elderly. Hip fractures are one of the most common injuries that result from falling. Unfortunately, fractures can have far-reaching implications for the older population. Reduced mobility and ability to complete day-to-day tasks unassisted may stem from a fracture, and these results are unlikely to be reversed in an elderly individual.
In seniors, falls are also the most common root of traumatic brain injuries or TBI. Head injuries can lead to TBI and are especially concerning if a senior is taking blood thinners.
Immediate medical attention should follow serious falls in the elderly, especially if a head injury is suspected.
There are steps that seniors, caregivers, and loved ones can take to prevent seniors from falling out of bed, as well as to reduce injury severity in the case of a fall. These strategies are:
Falling out of bed is a significant risk as people age and could lead to injury. While determining the cause of the falls is key in developing a prevention strategy, beds that are close to the ground, fall pads, and bed barriers are universal solutions to try. Don't wait until an injury has occurred to address the risk of a senior falling out of bed - implementing safety strategies now will help the senior maintain their health for as long as possible.
"All in One Bed." 4MD Medical Solutions, 4MD Medical Solutions, www.4mdmedical.com/all-in-one-bed.html.
Carter, Louise. "What Are the Causes of Adults Falling Out of Bed?" Sleep Bubble, Sleep Bubble, 7 Mar. 2019, www.sleepbubble.com/causes-of-adults-falling-out-of-bed/.
"Falls Prevention Facts." NCOA, National Council on Aging, 4 June 2018, www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/.
"Important Facts about Falls | Home and Recreational Safety | CDC Injury Center." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html.
Jumani, Kiran, and Jason Powell. "Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: Management and Its Impact on Falls." The Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Laryngology, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Aug. 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28718303.
Kane, Esther. "7 Ways To Prevent Elderly From Falling Out Of Bed." Senior Safety Advice, Publisher Name SeniorSafetyAdvice.com Publisher Logo, 31 July 2019, seniorsafetyadvice.com/how-to-keep-elderly-from-falling-out-of-bed/.
"Q & A: How to Prevent My Mom From Falling Out of Bed." The Physical Therapy Advisor, The Physical Therapy Advisor, 9 July 2014, www.thephysicaltherapyadvisor.com/2014/07/09/q-a-how-to-prevent-my-mom-from-falling-out-of-bed/.