How to Avoid Disaster: Risk Management for Nursing Homes

Risk Management or Risk Assessment is the top priority when it comes to nursing homes. It is an essential tool in finding out which rooms, facilities, and areas pose a significant threat to the well-being of the elderly.

Without conducting Risk Management on a regular basis, injuries can occur in a nursing home. These injuries can then become the legal basis for family members to file lawsuits.

According to a study made by independent nursing groups in the US, the most common types of injuries are slip and fall, bedsores, overdose, wrong medication, or even medical negligence.

Bedsores can be common with elderly patients who have problems with mobility. Pressure ulcers, as they are also known, are caused when patients stay in a position for too long. These sores often appear in the hips, tailbone, heels, and ankles.

Geriatric Patients who cannot move require assistance from staff members. Turning to sides or shifting positions alleviate these sores. For families visiting their loved ones, the presence of bedsores is a sign that the nursing staff is neglecting their duties.

If left untreated, bedsores become infectious and may require strong antibiotics. In the worse case, bedsores can become so infectious that it cause death.

Overdosing and wrong medication rests solely on the shoulders of Staff Members. Mistakes in medicating arise from drowsiness especially with drugs given in the wee hours of the day/night. Another common mistake that the nursing staff may commit is the unfamiliarity of patients and errors in accurately identifying the elderly.

Bedsores and overdosing are more related to human errors. Slip and fall accidents, on the other hand, can become attributed to architectural designs fault. These flaws can be spotted efficiently when properly assessing the whole building for safety risks.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), falls contribute to almost 1,800 deaths in the nursing home yearly. Depending on the circumstances, geriatric patients may take the first fall considerably well.

This fact may be a sign of news for a negligent care team, but sadly, this rarely happens at all. The elderly have a lot of problems due to advancing age. Muscle weakness and problems with gait contribute to falls. Although these are factors that the nursing staff cannot solve, a lot of solutions are possible addressing the structural aspects.

Here are some adjustments that the Risk Management program can identify and address:


The ideal height of a standard bed for geriatric homes is around 8-10 inches. Anything higher than this could significantly increase the occurrence of falls. Patients should also be assisted by nursing staff every time an elderly patient tries to get in and out of bed.

When it comes to mattress type, memory foams are the ideal choice. They provide excellent support without sacrificing comfort. In contrast, the traditional spring mattress increases the chances of bedsores due to the pressure that the metal coil inside the mattress brings.


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A lot of times, owners of nursing care homes often neglect or entirely forget the flooring. In geriatric care, slipping accounts for almost all of the accidents in the nursing home. Nursing staff should guide the elderly in pathways with ceramic tiles. These tiles are a hazard because a lot of times, spills may occur and it would be hardly noticeable for a well-trained eye, let alone the elderly.

Slip resistant matting should be considered a priority in slide-prone areas. These areas include kitchens, dining areas, and bathrooms. Signs should also be present whenever someone is mopping the floor. If all these are left unchecked, slips could result in broken hips and other injuries that may ultimately cause death in the elderly.

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Proper lighting should also become a priority when setting up a nursing home. Adequate lighting should be present in all areas of the building. Sectors such as bedrooms, bathrooms, and stairways are the top priorities for illumination.

Proper lights should also become a must in a nurse’s station. Never underestimate a good light bulb, it can become the reason why staff and personnel can read names of patients and labels of medicines correctly.


Taking care of the elderly is a difficult task for most of the staff in nursing care homes. Patients often suffer from ailments such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease, causing even more, problems. The conditions mentioned above, are the things that are entirely out of control for the staff.

With the help of Safety and Risk Management practices, a lot of these risks and dangers may be identified. These problems are then solved, making the care for the elderly a lot easier. Things to consider are the beds, flooring, and illumination.

If the things mentioned above are correctly addressed, problems in the nursing care home can be entirely avoided.

Author Bio

Dennis Vicarth is an expert in the field of Engineering and Technology. He also loves to write about interesting topics about health and fitness. In his free time, Dennis loves exercising and sharing his knowledge with his readers. He is currently living in Burkittsville, Maryland.