Top tips: falls, head Injuries and anticoagulation therapy

Working in care we all understand the importance of preventing falls; as temporary or agency employees, this is more challenging as we often have to get up to speed very quickly with risk assessments and ways of working.

Everyone wants to do their best to prevent someone from falling, but what actions should we take when someone in our care falls? Add to this a resident or patient on anticoagulation therapy and the risk of serious harm increases significantly.

Anticoagulants such as; Apixaban, Warfarin, Heparin are the cornerstones of modern medicine, designed to prevent blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke. However, the very same medications that safeguard against clotting can also increase the risk of bleeding, turning even minor head injuries into cause for concern. So how can you balance the tightrope of managing falls, head injuries and anticoagulation therapy?

Tips on managing the balance of falls, head injuries and anticoagulation therapy:

1. Handover: Inject some zest into your handovers! Whether you’re the giver or receiver, infuse personality into the exchange. Ensure that key details about residents or patients on anticoagulation therapy are communicated. Don’t settle for a lacklustre handover—ask probing questions. Who’s susceptible to falls? Is anyone on anticoagulant therapy or requiring time-sensitive medication? Are there residents with fragile skin integrity or at risk of choking? And what about those DNACPRs or special dietary needs? Handovers are the key to a safe shift—make each one count!

2. Stay vigilant

While doing your rounds, check that sensor mats are plugged in and working where appropriate. Ensure residents are wearing footwear with good grip to minimise slipping accidents  and transform the care space into a safety wonderland by removing any clutter or obstacles.

3. When someone does fall, it’s showtime!

Assess them like a detective on a case, can you work out the cause of the fall and whether there are any injuries? Remember never attempt to move a resident on the floor, let them get up in their own time and always follow the Falls Policy for the service you are in (some services will require a 999 call or first aider check for every case – if in doubt – check first!)

4. Anticoagulation antics and unwitnessed falls

Cue the suspenseful music! If a fall happens unseen and the individual’s on anticoagulant therapy, it’s time for a cliffhanger. Swiftly seek medical attention faster than you can say “plot twist,” because even the smallest bump can lead to a Hollywood-sized blockbuster!

5. Documentation sazzle

Write those notes like you’re crafting the next bestseller! Capture every detail of the fall, the drama, the action. Who did what, when and where. Always ensure that an incident report is completed and don’t forget to handover to the next shift!

6. If in doubt, shout it out

When uncertainty knocks on your door, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Even if you are the most senior person on duty, remember that all services have an on call manager for emergencies. For non-emergencies, find the policy and check if the answer is there before calling the on-call manager though – especially if it is at 3am!

If you want to learn more about Falls and how to prevent them, complete Florence Academy’s Falls and fracture prevention training course and build up your CPD hours.

Florence can help you find flexible shifts near you, take essential training courses and improve your work-life balance. Find out more and sign up today.

You might also be interested in:

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Why medication errors occur and how to avoid them

Start learning with Florence Academy: a beginners’ guide

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