Falls in hospitals can cause serious personal injury and sometimes death. Every year hundreds of thousands of people are falling in hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing facilities or other healthcare facilities. 30 to 50% of them will sustain injury. Elderly people are not the only ones at risk. Medical conditions, medication, surgery, medical procedures or diagnostic testings for example can result in weakening and confusion for any patient independently of his or her age and increase the risk of a fall.
According to a recent alert from the Joint Commission, falls in hospitals are a prevalent patient safety problem. Even though it can be difficult and complex to prevent, hospital can take action to prevent them. Here are recommendations suggested by the Joint Commission:
- Raise awareness about the risk of falls by communicating it to clinical and non clinical staff at every level as well as to patients and their family
- Establish an interdisciplinary fall prevention team. Reducing falls is the responsibility of everyone including nurses, physicians, environmental services, information technology, patient advocacy, pharmacy, occupational therapy, etc.
- Use a validated tool to identify the risk of fall in each patient and make it part of his or her electronic medical records
- Develop a personalized prevention plan for patients at risk
- Educate patients
- Conduct post-fall management
For more info on this subject, download the alert from the Joint Commission