Fall Prevention in Hospitals
The statistics for the number of falls (from 700,000 to 1 million) that occur in hospitals each year is astounding. The results from these falls include lacerations, fractures, and internal bleeding. Since approximately a third of these falls can be prevented, it’s important to know some of the tools to use so that falls won’t happen. Fall prevention requires managing a patient’s risk factors and optimizing the physical design and hospital environment.
How Hospitals Can Manage Fall Prevention
To effectively manage fall prevention, a hospital must assess the safety culture in the facility. The following steps can be implemented to help make a safer environment in the hospital setting.
Assess the safety issues of your hospital
Evaluate your process for giving attention to falls
Determine how your leadership team has been trained to handle falls
Develop goals for improvement in your current action plans
Create measurement tools to determine the effectiveness of your current plan of action
The Practices That Work Best for Your Hospital
For quality improvement purposes you must identify how your processes are connected to each other. This will require professional development opportunities for your staff so that all precautions and protocols are being followed. Your practices should include bedside safety, hazard reporting, and how to handle patients using safety procedures.
You should also explore the risk factors for each individual patient so that special steps can be taking in the planning process to assure patients of safety during their hospital stay. You may want to use questionnaires for patients and patient and family education information. Always implement assessment and management tools should a fall happen.
Implementing New Practices for Fall Prevention
Once you have determined that new practices and protocols are needed to replace or support your current prevention program elements, you should take the following steps:
Assign specific roles to staff along with their responsibilities that will be identified in the best practices documentation.
Select a team leader who will be responsible for all professional development training
Assess your current staff, their practices, and incorporate new knowledge into their training
Assess the program once you have implemented the new strategies.
Measurements and Evaluation
Evaluating the practices and protocols that you have in place is crucial to improving your prevention of falls. You must:
Collect the proper data about falls, resulting injuries, and what caused the fall
Measure how well your fall prevention practices are working
Assess the program so that you can monitor the progress that is being made on the fall prevention strategies that you are now using
Identify the factors needed to keep an effective fall prevention program in place
Once you have crafted a fall prevention strategy for your hospital, you can measure the results and modify it in an effective way to keep your patients happy and safe from enduring the results of an unwanted fall. Providing your organization with the big picture will help to identify warning signs that are indicative of accidents that are just waiting to happen.