Strategies to Prevent Patient Falls

PUBLISHED: Mar 20, 2019
Relevant to: All Healthcare Organizations

According to newly released data from The Joint Commission (TJC), patient falls have tied for the most often reported Sentinel Event in 2018, with 111 sentinel events related to falls reported. Preventing patient falls remains a serious patient safety priority and requires comprehensive, consistent intervention by healthcare organizations.

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, each year somewhere between 700,000 and 1,000,000 people in the United States fall in the hospital. A fall may result in fractures, lacerations or internal bleeding and can lead to increase health care utilization. Research shows that close to one-third of falls can be prevented.

Fall prevention involves managing a patient’s underlying fall risk factors and optimizing the facilities physical design and environment. Strategies organizations can implement to help prevent falls include:

  • Making fall prevention an integral part of your organization’s culture
  • Establishing an interdisciplinary falls injury prevention team
  • Implementing the use of a standardized, validated tool such as the More Fall Scale or the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model to identify risk factors for falls
  • Developing, implementing and evaluating policies and procedures that address patient fall prevention, including potential for falls assessment, developing individualize care plans, communicating patient fall risk as a part of the hand-off communication process and education for patient and staff
  • Implementing a “post-fall” management program

Included with today’s notice are several example policies that address fall prevention.

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