I arrived at a client’s home to do a supervisory visit only to find the client lying on the floor. He had fallen down. His wife had spent fifteen minutes trying to help him up unsuccessfully before the home health aide and I arrived. She was frantic, but relieved to see us.
As an agency we spend so much time talking about preventing falls. I remember bragging at the end of our second year in business, because there were zero falls while our HHA’s were in client’s homes. But this fact didn’t stop our clients from falling during the times we were not scheduled to be with them.
Our clients needed a way to get help when we weren’t there. An Emergency Alert system was the perfect solution. It provides a pendant that is worn on the wrist or as a necklace. When the button is pushed, it places a call allowing them to get help. Now we offer this alert system free to all of our clients for the first two months on service as part of our Care Connects program.
Thankfully, this particular client was not injured. I took time to check for cuts or bruises, because it would have only made things worse if we tried to get him up before checking. The problem we had was related to his dementia. He just couldn’t follow instructions well enough to help himself up.
At this point he was sitting up with a pillow behind him leaning against his wife. I knew that I needed him to roll over to his stomach in order to get him to a kneeling position to help him stand up or roll into the couch, but he was afraid and couldn’t understand my instruction. He pushed against me when I tried to move him and I was concerned that I would get hurt trying to lift him.
In most cases this would be a time to use an Emergency Alert button to call for help. This client lived thirty minutes out of town and I didn’t want to leave him on the floor for an extended period, so we helped him to scoot across the room to a nearby couch. His wife held onto his walker to secure it and with his help we were able to lift him up enough to lay him into the couch. It was not a pretty sight, but it was the best possible solution under the circumstances.
We let him sit in the couch for a few minutes before allowing him to try to stand. It is always a good idea to stop and reassess for injuries after each effort. Especially when you have a client that does not communicate well. A call to his doctor to report the incident and follow up with his wife to develop a fall prevention plan and this event had passed.
For more information about what we can do to prevent falls or to provide care for someone after a fall, please call (877) 743-4434.