Accreditation

Q&A

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, February 1, 2005

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Ask the experts: Answers to your questions about patient falls risk assessment and prevention

The following is adapted from an October 14, 2004 audioconference, "Patient Falls Risk Assessment and Prevention: Strategies for JCAHO Compliance," sponsored by HCPro, Inc., in Marblehead, MA, which publishes BOJ.

The speakers were Yolanda G. Smith, RN, MSN, CCRN, founder and owner of YGS Medical-Legal Consulting in Brooklyn, NY, and Teresa Sumner, BSN, RNC, CDONA-LTC, patient safety coordinator at Lenoir Memorial Hospital in Kinston, NC. Visit www.hcmarketplace.com/Prod.cfm?id=2879 for more information about the audioconference.

Q: Can you recommend alternatives to using restrictive restraints to control falls?

Sumner: Ask a family member or volunteer to sit with the patient, use chair or bed alarms, and post signs. For example, everybody recognizes a stop sign. So post a sign that reads either "Stop" or "Stop: Ring bell for nurse." That will jog patients' memories.

Have patients look at magazines and pencil drawings. Our facility has recliner chairs in all patient rooms, so we started bringing patients out to the desk in these chairs. This allows them to have someone to talk to and they can observe the action. Just make sure that they're appropriately dressed.

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