One of the major safety concerns that hospitals face today is preventing patient falls. A fall is defined as “an unexpected inadvertant change in position thta causes a person to land at a lower level on an object, floor or ground” (Payson & Haviley, 2005). Falls can be witnessed, unwitnessed or assisted. If a patient is ofund on the floor, it is treated as a fall. They are very common and may result in injuries and complications whcih prolongs hospitalization, decreases patient’s functional capacities and leads to increased healthcare costs.
The first step in preventing falls is to correctly assess the patients who are at risk. At our facility, certain criteria must be met for the patient to be placed on fall precaustion. A score of 25 or more qualifies a patient for implementation of the fall protocol which included fall precaution signs on the patient’s door, signs at the head of the patient’s bed, star sticker on the patient’s armband and chart and placing the patient on a bed and/or chair alarm. Falls are common and a major cause of injury and premature death among seniors, particularly for those who live in the community.
Home health agencies are in a unique position to reduce the risk of falling, but many agencies focus only on those at imminent risk, providing little or no support to many at-risk seniors. Some interventions with the potential for erffectiveness in isolation have been studied. Each of the following hospital- or institution-based individual interventions has been analyzed independently of a multi-component falls prevention program: such as identification bracelets, physical restraints, bed alarms, hip protectors, floor pads and non-skid socks, to name a few.
I do believe that evidence based practice has helped with not only our facility but all others in preventing and reducing patient falls. If nothing else, it makes us as healthcare professionals more conscious of the soundings and if our patients are at an increased risk.
Bennet, A. B. (2005). Defining patient saftey. Patient Safety & Quality Healthcare. March/April. Retrieved November 6, 2012 from http://www. psqh. com Agostini, Baker, & Bogardus. (2012). Prevention of Falls in Hospitalized and Institutionalized Older People. Retreived November 6, 2012 from http://www. ahrcq. gov