Inside best practice: Reduce patient falls with a stoplight

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, September 23, 2008

Patient falls are often cited as the second most frequent cause of harm for patients, topped only by medication errors. Help reduce falls by identifying patients who are at risk for falling. For example, consider implementing a stoplight system. This involves posting a picture of a stoplight in a patient’s room with a red, yellow, or green light. The colors stand for:

  • Red light—The patient should not be up without assistance and cannot be left unattended when in the bathroom
  • Yellow light—The patient requires a minimum of standby assistance for any activity
  • Green light—The patient may be up without assistance

Source: Adapted from HCPro’s book Evidence-Based Falls Prevention: A Study Guide for Nurses.

Editor’s note: Do you have a best practice you would like to share? E-mail it to associate editor Cameran Erny at and see your name in print!


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