The leading reasons for patient falls are multifold in nature. Interestingly, common causes of patient fall differed from patients’ predicted fall risks. The actual causes of personal falls were lack of awareness or haste, environmental hazards, and improper use or lack of walking aids (Collins et al., 2020). However, patients tend to attribute their falls more to their environment and less to physical or psychological limitations. In evaluating problematic hospital designs, Pati et al. (2021) list bathroom configuration, the IV poles, doors, toilet seat height, rungs or grab bars, tables over a bed, and patient chairs as posing the highest risk. Some of the specific actions and areas that caused falls included turning, grabbing, pushing, pulling in the bathroom, and pushing and pulling in the clinician area (Pati et al., 2021). Overall, changes in body position (in posture) during patients’ interactions with the environment constitute the cause of most falls, such as walking across the room, sitting down on a chair or a bed, or moving the over-bed table (Pati et al., 2021). These findings provide a basis for devising better designs for a safe patient environment.
Medical care providers need to exercise caution in discussing the prevention strategies based on patients’ risk perception. The intervention should be based on factual data or comprehensive modeling and address the aspects of hospital design causing the most concern. Patients’ movement around their room, especially bedside, must be addressed as a priority since most falls occur in that location (Chu, 2017). Patients with physical impairments should be monitored closely, especially those prone to haste or risky behavior (Chu, 2017). Given that most of the falls are not witnessed, Chu (2017) offers centralized video monitoring as one of the options. However, the most important fall prevention measures are still regular check-ins with the patients and appropriate communication, preferably in the written form, regarding the risks and assistance options in falling (Chu, 2017). Additionally, regularly reviewing the medication issues to patients and its side effects like dizziness or impaired balance may further decrease the risk of patients falling (Chu, 2017). Overall, addressing the physical environment, raising awareness, and paying attention to personal aspects like behavior or medication are the major fall prevention techniques.
Chu, R. Z. (2017). Preventing in-patient falls: The nurse’s pivotal role. Nursing, 47(3), 24–30. Web.
Collins, C. E., Chandra, A., Nguyen, B., Schultz, K., Mathew, P., Chen, T., Renshaw, S., Rose, K. M., & Santry, H. P. (2020). The rose-colored glasses of geriatric fall patients: Inconsistencies between knowledge of risk factors for and actual causes of falls. Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, 6, 1–8. Web.
Pati, D., Valipoor, S., Cloutier, A., Yang, J., Freier, P., Harvey, T. E., & Lee, J. (2021). Physical design factors contributing to patient falls. Journal of Patient Safety, 17(3), 1-8. Web.