Tips from TSE: Prevent patient falls with these helpful initiatives

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, June 26, 2009

Fall prevention guidelines mandate that every patient is assessed and findings documented on admission, every eight hours, and with every change in patient condition. As the medical-surgical unit at North Adams (MA) Regional Hospital continues to focus on decreasing patient falls, the unit will be "looking critically at every fall that takes place and also looking at our fall assessment tool," says Peg Daly, RN, BS, education specialist at North Adams. "Did we ask critical questions? Are we doing everything we can do to prevent falls?"

Additionally, falls are categorized as accidental, anticipated, and unanticipated. For instance, an anticipated fall is used to describe the possibility of falling patients who are at high risk, such as those with impaired mobility, impaired cognition, or one who takes a variety of medications.

"We want patients and staff to be aware of the safety of the patient environment," says Daly. "Staff are reminded to introduce themselves, to make sure that call lights are within patient's reach, as well as canes or walkers, if needed, and that bedroom slippers are non-skid. We've even put signs in all patient rooms and bathrooms that remind patients to 'Call, Don't Fall.'"

Editor's note: This excerpt was adapted from the June issue of The Staff Educator. Discover all the benefits of subscribing to The Staff Educator!

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