Best Practices to Prevent Patient Falls in Hospitals

PUBLISHED: Mar 14, 2017

Patient falls in hospitals are a serious patient safety issue. Falls lead to patient and staff injury, prolonged hospital stays and increased costs. The two components of a fall prevention program are 1) managing a patient’s underlying fall risk and 2) optimizing the hospital’s physical design and environment.

Best Practices for Fall Prevention Programs include:

  • Incorporate a focus on fall prevention into the organization’s culture of safety
    • Make sure patient safety is clearly articulated in the organization’s strategic plan
    • Have a patient safety champion in the senior leadership team who champions fall prevention
    • Medical staff leaders should participate in patient safety initiatives
    • The budget has funding allocated for patient safety initiative including fall prevention
  • Have policies and procedures that address fall prevention, management and reporting
    • Whenever possible use standardized validated tools to identify patients at risk for falls.
    • Policies should reflect practices with demonstrated effect on fall prevention, e.g., hand-off communication processes, patient education.
    • Policies should support honest, transparent and blame-free reporting of patient falls
  • Patients identified with risk for falls should have individualized care plans that implement interventions specific to the patient and setting.

Example resources to assist with fall prevention management are included with today’s notice.

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