The danger of falling is very real for hospitalized patients and the Hospital of Saint Raphael takes great care to ensure your safety and comfort during your stay with us. Fall prevention is a shared responsibility and is such a priority that we formed a Fall Prevention and Management Team. The team has kept a watchful eye on fall rates since 2005 and has implemented hospital-wide safety measures designed to reduce the occurrence of falls. Through the team’s efforts, the hospital has already reduced patient falls overall by 25 to 30 percent.
Saint Raphael’s has adopted several fall prevention measures such as providing patients with skid-resistant slippers and ensuring lighting is good and call buttons are within reach. Nursing staff assess patients for fall risk not only on admission but also at every shift change and frequently throughout the day and night. Bed alarms are used in some cases while wrist bands and “angel” signs are posted above beds and on patient doors as visible reminders of those who are at high risk for falls.
The hospital is part of a state-wide Patient Fall Collaborative, sponsored by the Connecticut Hospital Association (CHA) in collaboration with Qualidigm — a nationally recognized consulting firm — to help reduce the rate of patient falls in Connecticut healthcare facilities.
Here’s some answers to common questions that will help you and your loved ones better understand the risks associated with patient falls, and ways we can work together to prevent them.
Q. Am I at risk for falling?
A. The following contribute to and increase your chances of falling:
- Illness and being in new and unfamiliar surroundings
- Medications such as sleeping aids, pain relievers, water pills and laxatives
- Previous falls
- Shortness of breath, weakness, dizziness, fever and urgent need to toilet
- New confusion from illness, such as infection or changes in blood level
- Sensory impairments, such as numbness in feet, vision or hearing problems
- Presence of tubes or other equipment
Q. How will the staff know that I am at risk for falling?
A. Having a higher risk of falling may occur at different times during your hospital stay. Your nurse will reassess your risk to fall at each shift.
Q. How can my family and visitors help prevent falls?
A. Your family and friends can help prevent falls by:
- Staying with you if necessary
- Informing the nurse of any changes they see in your behavior or thinking
- Informing the nurse if you are experiencing dizziness, or any other new symptom
- Checking with the nurse before helping you get out of bed
Q. What will the staff do differently if I am at risk of falling?
A. Fall prevention practices relate to your individual risk factors. The nursing staff will:
- Instruct you to use the call light for help with getting in and out of bed or getting something out of your reach
- Place a fall “angel” logo outside your door, and place a yellow band on your wrist to alert other healthcare workers of your risk of falling
- Frequently come to your room to see if you need any help, being careful not to wake you if you are sleeping
- You also might be moved to a room close to your nurse’s station
- A bed or chair alarm may be used to alert the staff about your attempts to get up
Page last updated on Jul. 20, 2010