How Carveth Care Centre's Falling Stars program is reducing the risk of falls

Love and stars are similar in one way. They keep you looking up every night.

This connection is not lost on Krystyna Sikora, a caregiver to vulnerable residents at Carveth Care Centre where she calls people who fall, Falling Stars.

“If a resident falls twice in a 28-day period, they are placed on our Falling Star Program,” says Krystyna an employee at the home for almost 19 years.

Once on the program, a resident is flagged as high-risk for falls. The identification process includes adding a sign to the resident’s door, wheelchair or walker. A note is also added to the resident’s chart. The innovative program has been offered at the home for approximately 10 years.

“The program is mostly for staff awareness,” says the friendly Activity Assistant. “Because every staff member knows what the Falling Star logo means.” 

Designed to prevent residents from falling and seriously injuring themselves, the program even has a finish date.

“Residents come-off the program after two months from the date of their last fall, if no further falls have occurred,” says Krystyna who is formally trained in restorative care.

Helping her increase awareness among staff is Paula Lewis, Assistant Director of Care.

“We want this to be a falls prevention program, rather than a reduction program,” says the friendly manager who teaches the program during staff orientation.

“The program identifies high risk residents and we take if further.”

Once identified as a Falling Star, a resident is assessed for risk factors such as adequate lighting in their room; furniture obstructing their movements; proper footwear; and, amount/timing of medication.

“Most of our (industry) falls occur in the evening or overnight by residents trying to use the washroom,” explains Paula. “Also, if someone is taking more than five medications, statistics show they are a higher risk for falls.”

To help reduce the risk of falls, a team of professionals work together to assess and treat the Falling Star. The team includes physiotherapists and pharmacists. 

Helping to deter falls is a bed alarm system designed to notify staff when a Falling Star leaves their bed at night. Another way to minimize falls is to dress a resident in rubber-bottom socks before they go to sleep. 

“Most residents are less likely to fall when they’re wearing gripper socks,” says Paula.

The women acknowledge the success rate for falls prevention in the home is hard to measure due to variables such as arrival of new residents and the natural process of aging.

“The best we can hope for is to prevent a fall,” says Paula wisely.

“When people come off the Falling Star program, having been fall-free for the two-month period, we make the assumption they have improved.”

Pictured above: the Falling Star logo