Preventing Falls in the Hospital
For a variety of reasons, patients in a hospital are at risk of falling. Whether it is old age, new medications, weakness following surgery, stress or anxiety, patients are not in peak physical form. The simple act of walking around can become cumbersome and, in fact, dangerous. At Lifespan hospitals, patient safety in the operating room and in the recovery room is a priority. Here are some tips that can help patients and visitors maintain a safe hospital stay.
If you are a patient:
- Don't hesitate to ask for help if you need it. Hospital personnel is there to assist you.
- Keep the floor clear in your hospital room.
- Do not walk around in socks; they can be slippery on hospital floors. Wear snug fitting slippers or shoes. Slipper-socks with rubber soles are available from the hospital staff.
- Do not wear loose clothing, which can get caught on furniture and equipment.
- Avoid reaching for switches or anything that is not at arm's length. Most lights, television controls and call buttons are all available from the bed.
- Keep lights on, or turn them on at night if needed.
- Bring glasses or contacts if they are normally needed.
- If spills occur, always call a member of the nursing team. Spills of any kind can make the floor very slippery.
- Use prescribed canes, crutches or walkers. Never assume a piece of furniture is stable enough to lean on.
- After an extended rest, always sit up and wait a few minutes before standing. Lightheadedness and dizziness can occur because of weakness or medications.
If you are visiting a patient:
- Do not bring in extra suitcases, bags or furniture. Patients can be prone to tripping. The cleaner the floor, the better.
- Do not rearrange a room after a patient has been in for an extended stay. If something is misplaced after visitors leave, a patient may be more apt to trip on it.
- Ask a nurse to move a patient if he or she cannot move themselves.
- If you are helping a patient to walk, keep the pace slow and even.
- A patient may be connected to an IV or other device. Never disconnect a device and always ask for help when moving a patient.
- If a patient falls, never try to pick them up alone.