How can hospitals prevent falls?

Falls in hospitals happen all too often. Patients may fall for many reasons. Medications can make a person unstable, weak leg muscles develop after time in bed and all the wires and tubes could present a tripping hazard.

In any case, a hospital fall is usually preventable. The Patient Safety Network says it is up to the facility to implement a fall prevention plan and to follow it to stop these accidents. One thing to keep in mind when developing such plans is fall prevention must be unique to each patient. There is no one-size-fits-all plan.

Assessing risks

The first step to implementing a plan for a patient is to assess his or her risks. This might include age, as the elderly have a higher fall risk than younger people. It can include medication side effects or physical limitations.

Environmental changes

The environment can produce a lot of fall hazards. You should take steps to ensure floors are uncluttered and furniture arrangements allow for clear walking paths. You also should have a plan for cord and tube management to keep it from becoming a hazard. Non-slip flooring and providing proper footwear for patients are also important.

Educating patients

It is also important to educate patients on potential fall risks. Include family members in this so they can help the patient to avoid falls. Talk about risks and hazards so the patient understands and provide them with alternative options, such as a call button to get a nurse to help them. Staff must stay on top of the situation to ensure patients get proper care so they do not take risks with walking if they are at high risk for a fall.

Falls in a hospital setting should never happen. With proper fall prevention plans, they can stop.