Fall-related injury prevention is an important part of the daily tasks for staff in nursing homes. Whilst a limited number of injury prevention interventions have proven to be effective for nursing home populations, impact absorbing flooring (IAF) has shown promising injury-reducing results. However, IAF is in the testing stages and therefore, it is important to collect information on all aspects of this intervention, alongside the primary intended outcome, in order to explore the consequences of installing IAF in nursing homes.
The aim of this qualitative study was to describe the licensed practical nurses (LPNs) experiences of working and caring in a nursing home with IAF.
The study was part of a research project evaluating different aspects of IAF. Focus group interviews were carried out with LPNs working in a nursing home with IAF. The interviews were analyzed with content analyses.
A purposive sampling strategy was used. All LPNs with at least one year of experience from working on the ward with IAF were asked to participate. All potential participants took part in the study.
From the focus group interviews, a general theme evolved; Working in a unique ward. A main category was identified; Weighing the pros and cons, reinforced by two categories; Affecting falls and injuries and Affecting everyday life. The LPNs felt that the flooring defused the falls and thereby prevented injuries as well as greatly improving the acoustic environment. Although initially experiencing the IAF as challenging to walk on and that maneuvering heavy equipment, strategies were adopted to cope with the new circumstances.
IAF in nursing homes is a new and innovative step towards preventing fall-related injuries among frail elderly. Despite some negative consequences of installing the IAF, overall the LPNs were positive towards the flooring. Nonetheless, this type of intervention needs to be further evaluated regarding the long-term effects on staff as well as the effect on residents.