Tips for Hospitals to Prevent Older People from Falling and Injuring Themselves.
Allied health experts have a major task in ensuring that they reduce the chances of older patients falling and injuring themselves. The Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care has published a national guideline that will educate health experts in clinical practices and also help hospitals to make use of these practices thus preventing injuries that older people sustain from falling.
How can you be of help?
- As an allied health professional, you can help to prevent falls, which should be part of your day-to-day care for all older patients.
- Create a specific fall prevention plan that you can implement for each patient based on screening and assessment.
- After discharge from the hospital, always inspect the homes of patients with a fall history to make sure they have a safe environment.
- For patients with a history of many falls, make their specific environmental needs available to them after discharging from the hospital.
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Recommendations from the Tips
Tips from Successful Hospital Falls Prevention Methods:
- Day-to-day supervision and assistance that has been included in the program.
- Specific and individualised falls prevention care program based on proper investigation and patient assessment.
The following Standard Falls Prevention Plan has been integrated as interventions in successful in-hospital trials and should be added to standard everyday practice:
- Make use of a registered tool to examine and assess patients for fall risks especially older patients with cognitive issues.
- Indicate patients with a high fall risk by placing an alert card above their beds and bathroom commode chair.
- Ensure that the older patients always have their spectacles and visual aids with them.
- Examine medications, especially high risk medications including sedatives, antidepressan.
- Check their postural blood pressure to know patients with noticeable blood pressure drop.
- Create routine screening urinalysis to know those with urinary tract infection.
- Carry out routine physiotherapy check for patients with mobility issues:
(Interact with staff and the patient to know the written and verbal mobility status of each patient)
Place walking aids beside the bed of each patient that prefers to get up from any side and use a bed that makes it easier for them to get up from their preferred side.
Monitor and assist the patient, if requested.
Ensure that while mobilising, the patient wears fitted nonslip footwear. (Strongly advise them from moving around in socks, surgical stockings or slippers and also encourage the patient to take active part in exercises) you should also advise the patients to reduce bed rest and increase spontaneous activity.
In rehabilitation environments, create physiotherapeutic exercises, led by experts, to improve balance. Use exercises including Tai Chi and other functional activities that are specifically made to work on individual needs.
- Teach and discuss fall prevention techniques with all staff, patients and their carers.
- Create a plan that will maintain bowel and bladder function.
- Teach patients that have been discharged or moved to another hospital about their medication schedule, side effects and behaviors with food and other medications. Ensure that medications that are unimportant are not prescribed and that accurate data about medications becomes a common knowledge to all relevant medical experts.
- Create a secure environment by ensuring that:
- The bed is at a comfortable height and is suitable for the patient to place their feet on the floor while sitting.
- Make sure that the room is free from clutter and spills.
- Make sure the patient is acclimatised to the bed area, room, ward or unit facilities and tell them how they can look for help when they need it. Some patients will require constant orientation because of cognitive issues; there are some that will also need signage in suitable script and language to drive home the messages.
- Ensure that the patients comprehend how to use assistive devices such as walking frames before they are asked to use them.
- Ensure there is a policy in place that reduces the use of bedside rails and make sure they are appropriately used to prevent injury.
- Consider using hip protectors and alarm devices such as bed alarms for patients that have a chance of falling.