Taking Steps to Reduce Falls
Updated: 9 hours ago
Falls can lead to minor and major injuries, hospitalization, and even surgery. At Memorial Hospital, we take falls very serious. As part of Fall Prevention Awareness Day, we take this time to remind you, that whether you are at a care facility or just roaming around your home, it is important to take the necessary steps and precautions to minimize your risk of falling.
At Memorial Hospital, we have our basic safety plan that involves transportation routes within the facility, fire exits, access, flooring, lighting, signage and prevention of slips, trips and falls. These signs and precautions are in place for everyone.
BASIC SAFETY PRECAUTIONS
Hallways are clear of obstacles.
Exit signs are visible.
Handrails in hallways.
Floors clean and dry.
Beds, stretchers and wheelchairs are locked and maintained.
Registration calls for assistance to escort patients if necessary.
Patients being discharged from Surgery or Inpatient care are escorted to their vehicle.
Staff report all unsafe and potentially unsafe conditions.
All Nursing Departments use a Fall Risk Scale to determine patient risk.
OUT-PATIENTS/VISITORS When patients come to our facility for outpatient procedures or visits we ask a few basic questions that will help us determine if you may need assistance while you are here. Here are the questions that we ask. Know yourself and be honest with your answers to our staff.
Do you have weakness?
Have you fell recently?
Do you feel unsteady?
Do you use a walker or a cane and need help?
Are you scared of falling?
Would you like help?
You can always just ask one of our staff if you need help, and we will be glad to assist! IN-PATIENTS People are at a greater risk of falling just being admitted to the hospital. Why is that? Because you are in unfamiliar surroundings; you do not have your normal items that you have at home; you may be taking medication that can make you confused or dizzy (pain medications can do this); you may be receiving treatment or testing that makes you weak, dizzy or unsteady; you may have an IV or monitor tubing and wires that could trip you up; and many more reasons. What can you do to prevent a fall?
Listen to staff suggestions
Use your call light when you need assistance
Do NOT rush to the bathroom yourself
Let your nurse know if you notice a safety hazard
Make sure your call light is in reach
Have your visitors tell the staff that they are leaving
Make sure your personal items are within reach
Sit up in bed for a couple of minutes before standing.
For patients who stay with us we perform constant assessments on your risk for falls. We have methods to help decrease your risk of falling while you are here. What we do to protect you if you are a high fall risk:
Educate you on how to use equipment, like sit-to-stand and regular lifts.
Use a gait belt that aids the staff in anchoring you if you do become weak.
Explain to you how we are going to do something before we do it. That way you know the exact process.
Remind you where you are and what day it is.
Assist you when moving from place to place.
Use a personal alarm to make us aware if you try to get up without assistance.
Stop in hourly to assess the 4 P’s (Pain, Position, Potty and Personal Items)
Use a bedside commode or a shower chair.
Educate family and visitors on fall reduction.
Apply an Orange Bracelet to you. This lets all staff members know that you are a High Fall Risk, so if they see you alone, they should stop and help you.
Review your medications if one could be causing your instability.
Examples of why you would be a high fall risk:
You have had a fall in the last 90 days
You have more than 1 diagnosis for this stay
You are on Bedrest
You use an ambulatory aid (walker, crutches, cane)
You have an IV site
You are weak and need help moving
You are on pain medication
You had surgery
Your mental status has changed
If the nursing or medical staff feel that you may fall
If you are under the age of 3
If you have a seizure disorder
You have dizziness or balance disturbances
The best thing that you can do to help us to protect you and to protect yourself is to Speak Up. As a patient, it is your responsibility to:
Provide information. Patients must provide to the best of their knowledge, accurate and complete information about present complaints, past illnesses, hospitalizations, medication and other matters relating to their health.
Ask questions. Patients must ask questions when they do not understand their care, treatment and service or what they are expected to do.
Follow instructions. Patients must follow the treatment plan developed. Patients should express any concerns about their ability to follow the proposed care plan.
Accept consequences. Patients are responsible for outcomes if they do not follow the treatment plan.
Follow the hospital policies and rules affecting their care and conduct while in the hospital.
We encourage all patients to:
Be an active, involved and informed member of the healthcare team by asking questions about their own health and safety.
Remind staff to check their armband/patient ID prior to receiving any medication, blood/blood product or invasive procedure.
Ask questions regarding medications given.
All employees at Memorial Hospital help to keep you safe during your visit. You can do your part by speaking up and following our safety precautions. TOGETHER, we can prevent falls.