Falls are a big concern for all employees in a hospital setting daily. The worst thing that can happen to a patient while being hospitalized is a fall, or a major fall, that could result in skin damage (i.e. wounds, skin tears, or abrasions), a fracture or break, thus limiting their independence. This student’s goal was to develop a way to educate staff members in ways they can help reduce the number of falls that occur. Developing a sample Fall Risk Prevention Policy as well as a Staff in-service on fall risk and Prevention achieved this goal.
Field of Work: Prevention of patient falls at NCH- Orthopedic Unit
Problem: Patient falls have long been a common and serious problem in hospitals across the nation, causing substantial injury up to and including death. Because of this, there is an increased risk of serious injury, which increases with age. Making older patients more vulnerable. NCH analyzed 57 patient falls on this unit over a 13-month period.
Goals of Project: (1) Return the patient to optimal level of function in the home environment (private residence, ILF, or ALF) and in the community, (2) reduce the occurrence of hospitalization secondary to falls, and (3) adapt the patient’s environment for enhanced and optimal safety.
This student developed a sample Fall Risk Prevention Policy that the staff and unit Director could evaluate and then determine if it is one that would be beneficial to the unit. The Policy covers several concepts, listed as follows: fall definition, equipment needed, implementation, environmental considerations, patient and family education, patient education components, documentation, fall occurrence and post fall nursing and direct care staff. This would co-inside with the use of the Morse Fall Risk assessment that is currently being used and documented each shift. The staff was receptive to the material that was presented in the in-service, learning new information and reinforcing patient goals and safety.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that more than one third of adults 65 and older fall each year. Half of the elderly people, who fall, do so repeatedly. Aside from the health problems related to falls, nearly $20 billion of direct medical costs are associated with fatal and non-fatal falls (Larson & Bergmann, 2008).
Noted and documented falls, NCH Orthopedic Unit from December 2008 to December 2009:
Dec 08 Jan 08 Feb 08 Mar 08 Apr 08 May 08 Jun 08 Jul 08 Aug 08 Sept 08 Oct 08 Nov 08 Dec 09
# Of Falls 1 6 7 5 6 2 8 6 3 2 4 6 1
Average number of fall was 4.3 per month according to NCH’s statistical records. Compared to 1,500 senior residents in Florida who were injured from a fall 2008 and 41,464 Florida residents who were hospitalized from fall related injuries, females accounted for 51% of fall related deaths and 73% of fall related hospitalizations (Florida Injury Facts, 2010). In 2008, the number one leading cause of death in those 65+ was falls, with approximately 1,511...