Falls are alarmingly common in health care facilities, posing a significant risk to patients. Understanding the root causes of these accidents is important for implementing effective prevention strategies.
According to Statista, there were 44,686 deaths in America due to falls in 2021. Even if a fall only leads to serious injuries and not death, knowing why falls happen in health care facilities is important.
Inadequate patient assessment
One major contributor to falls in health care facilities is an inadequate assessment of patients’ mobility and fall risk. When health care providers fail to identify individuals who are at risk of falling, they may not implement appropriate precautions. This oversight can lead to avoidable accidents.
Medication side effects
Certain medications can cause dizziness, weakness or loss of balance, which significantly increase the risk of falls. Health care professionals must be vigilant in monitoring patients for adverse drug reactions and adjusting medications accordingly to mitigate this risk.
Health care facilities are often bustling places with various hazards, including wet floors, cluttered hallways and poorly maintained equipment. These environmental factors can easily lead to falls if not promptly addressed.
Lack of adequate supervision
In some cases, patients require constant supervision due to their condition or mobility limitations. If health care facilities do not provide sufficient staffing or monitoring, patients may attempt to move on their own, increasing their chances of falling.
Overcrowding and rushed care
In busy health care facilities, staff may feel pressure to provide care quickly, potentially compromising safety measures. Adequate staffing levels and time management strategies are important to ensure patient safety.
Poor communication among health care providers
Effective communication among health care team members can help prevent falls. When important information about a patient’s fall risk or condition is not communicated clearly, it can lead to lapses in care.
Inadequate use of assistive devices
Health care facilities often provide patients with assistive devices like walkers or canes. However, if patients are not properly trained in their use or do not use them consistently, the risk of falls remains high.
Failure to implement fall risk protocols
Health care facilities should have established protocols for identifying, assessing and preventing falls. Failure to follow these protocols, whether due to staff negligence or lack of awareness, can result in unnecessary accidents.
Falls often lead to serious injuries, whether they happen at home or at a hospital. Addressing these factors can help create a safer environment for both patients and health care providers.