It is roughly estimated that one in four vulnerable patient fall each year. Patient falls are one of the causes of injury among vulnerable patients. Falls among older individuals is a consequential issue, but research has shown that fall risks can be identified and thus falls are preventable.
There are many different factors that can aggravate the risk of falling like past falls, problems in walking, balance problems, weakness due to chronic diseases, multiple medications or behaviorial disorders.
To ensure that patients fundamental needs like assistance to washroom are met, undertaking regular, even hourly rounds hospital widecan lessen the number of falls in hospital. There is enough evidence to suggest thatregular inpatient rounds by staff is associated with improved patient experience and safety.
If the patient is at risk of falling or rolling out of bed itwould beneficial to use a low-position bed. Side rails of the beds should be up all the time. Also, it is very important to place the call bell within the reach of patient and to encourage the patient and family on using the call bell when needing help.All bed side and washroom call bells should be in working condition and must be checked every day. There must be enough staff to respond to the call bell.
Simply providing a brochure on falls prevention is not enough- instead talking to the patient and their family is essential.Educate the patient, their family and their care takers on falls prevention. Talk to them about falls risk and its consequences and encourage them to ask for assistance especially for the patients who are vulnerable or unsteady. On each shiftorient new patients to the ward, toilet, and provide regular reorientation to the patients with cognitive impairment, minimize clutter around the bedside, provide easy access according to patient’s needs and preferences, lock wheels on the bed and other equipment, help the patient put on appropriate footwear and clothing, provide assistance or supervision for walking.
If patient is taking medicines that causesurgency to go to the washroom often or may cause dizziness or lethargy, persuadethem to use a bed pan instead going to washroom.
Safety of patientis an importantaspect to the health care team. Educating family and friends can also contribute to this. Healthcare providers must assess the vulnerability of the patient thoroughly to provide safe environment to the patient and thus aim towards reducing any kinds of falls or injury resulting from it. This will not only ensure safe patient care but will also improve overall patient satisfaction.
By Dr Shruti Rana