Falls in hospitals and other healthcare facilities are a worldwide problem for many reasons and the fact that some of these falls are preventable makes awareness of the issue even more important. You may be wondering what causes a fall? Many factors play into this answer, but some of the most common answers may be that patients are in unfamiliar environments, can have physiological changes due to medications, new medical conditions, surgery or procedures that could leave an individual weakened or confused.
A few interesting facts:
Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals every year
30 to 50 percent of patients who fall sustain an injury*
Estimated average cost for a fall with injury is about $14,056*
As we all know, falls can happen in the blink of an eye to even the most fit, young and athletic patients. Some of the most common fall contributing factors are related to inadequate assessment, communication failure between staff, lack of adherence to protocols and safety practices, deficiencies in the physical environment and even inadequate orientation or on the job training upon hire.
Prevention is Power! Here are a few ways that you can help prevent falls.
- Create awareness
- Establish a falls injury prevention team; set alarms and monitoring systems
- Use a standardized, validated method to identify risk factors for falls and identify high-risk patients
- Create a standardized hand-off communication process to include hourly rounding
- Educate patients at the bedside
- Conduct a post fall analysis to help with improvement efforts
Falls can occur in patients of all ages- young, old, teenager or geriatric. As a medical professional, it is imperative to constantly be observant, ready to act and follow protocol. You have the power to create the awareness and you have the power to help prevent.