Fall Prevention

Did you know that many incidents in hospitals are related to falling? Only some falls cause injuries but they can affect walking and make it harder to stay independent. There are usually a number of reasons for someone falling. These may include poor balance, unfamiliar environments and obstacles in the environment, poor eyesight, unsafe footwear, general weakness and some medicines to name a few.

Here are some ways that staff are working to reduce your risk of falling while you are in hospital:

  • Helping you to settle in, keeping your surroundings safe and providing you with fall-prevention information.
  • Assessing your risk of falling and developing a care plan suited to your needs.
  • Reassessing your risk for falling if your condition changes or you have a fall.

There are a number of ways that you can reduce the risk of falling during your stay at the hospital.

10 Tips to prevent falls

  • Use the call bell when you need help.
  • Ask the nursing staff for help to and from the bathroom. This is very important if you are unsteady. The call bell in the bathroom may be located on the wall.
  • For your safety, a member of the nursing staff may stay with you in the bathroom.
  • If you take medicines that cause you to go to the bathroom often, ask for help when you need to get up. Consider using a commode or urinal.
  • Some medicines may cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy. Take your time getting out of the bed or chair.
  • Sit at the edge of the bed for a few seconds before you get up.
  • Wear nonslip footwear or slippers when you are up.
  • Walkers and canes can provide support. Other items do not. Do not lean on the bedside table, furniture, IV pole or other items to steady yourself.
  • Ask a member of your health care team to place the call bell, phone and personal items within your reach before he or she leaves the room.
  • Tell a member of the nursing staff if you have any concerns about your safety.
  • Wear your eyeglasses and/or hearing aid(s) when you are awake.

Tips for family and friends:

The nurse identifies patients who may be at risk for falling with red slippers and/or special signs.

Please speak up about safety concerns to the nursing staff. This includes information about the risk of falling, or a recent history of a fall.

Patient safety and comfort are important to the health care team. Family and friends can also help. Please read the information in this fact sheet so you can remind your family member or friend of the 10 tips to prevent falls.

You can also do the following:

  • Make sure the call bell, phone and personal items are within easy reach of the patient before you leave the room.
  • Call the nurse if the patient is weak or lightheaded.
  • Consider staying with the patient if he or she is confused or at a high risk of falling.
  • Call the nurse before leaving the patient if he or she is confused.
  • Remind the patient to ask the nursing staff for help when getting up.
  • If you have any questions, please ask a member of your health care team

Adapted from Allina Hospital and Clinics – 10 tips to prevent falls in the hospital – retrieved from http://www.allina.com/ac/transcript.nsf/alltopics/10_tips_to_prevent_falls_hospital on February 14, 2011

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