Assuring patient safety is part of the responsibility of any medical or health care responsibility. One of the events that is considered a “never event” is hospital patient falls. Most falls that occur in hospitals by patients in their care are completely preventable by the hospital medical staff. These falls can seriously injure patients and delay or even prevent their ability to recover.
Causes Of Hospital Falls
- Medication. Many medications can affect a patient’s physical and mental capacity. Hospitals should be aware of possible side effects and prepare to assist patients when they need to move from one area to another.
- Changes in blood pressure. Procedures may affect blood pressure that can cause vertigo and dizziness.
- Frequent elimination. Hospital staff needs to be prepared for patient’s that will need to eliminate their bladder or bowels more frequently due to their medical condition.
- Mobility issues. Proper mobility devices and precautions are needed for those who will have difficulty with mobility.
- Vision issues. Medications and other factors may cause a change in vision that can increase the chance of falls.
Preventing Hospital Falls
The majority of hospital accidents are attributed to falls. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality up to 40% of all hospital accidents are falls and should be preventable. A study published in the New England Journal of Internal Medicine cited that between 2.3 and 7 falls happen for every 1,000 patients in hospitals. 85% of these falls happen within the patient’s room and 30% of these falls result in serious injuries. Since falls are considered to be a “never event”, this rate is much too high and can be reduced significantly by the hospital staff adhering to safety procedures.
- Proper equipment for mobility. Walkers, wheelchairs and other devices need to be available to prevent falls.
- Transfer assistance. Many falls happen when the patient is transferring from one place to the next, such as exiting the bed to use the bathroom or bedside toilet.
- Alarms. Nursing staff needs to have alarms in place in case a patient who should not be moving tries to leave their bed.
- Nurse call systems. All call systems for patient assistance need to in working order and within reach of the patient.
Hospital Fall Lawsuits: When Patients Are Injured Due to Staff Negligence
Any fall that happens and causes injury in a hospital setting should be investigated properly to find out the reason for the accident. In many cases the hospital may be to blame for the injury or even death that resulted from the fall. Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers are experienced in Illinois medical malpractice lawsuits involving patients who have fallen at a hospital or were dropped by staff and will be on your side to get the best possible financial outcome for you and your family. Call us today if you or a loved one have been victim to a hospital fall and we will advise you on your rights, free of charge and with no obligation. 888-424-5757
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