Preventing fall injuries is enhanced by a hospital-wide patient safety program at UMMC. Nurses meet monthly to review fall prevention program initiatives and to continually improve strategies to reduce falls and injuries.
Fall Prevention Awareness
At UMMC, fall prevention is everyone's responsibility. Staff is educated and made aware of patients' fall risk through classes, competencies, signage, and charting. In addition to the nursing staff, this includes physical therapists, transporters, hospitality staff, and radiology staff. Patients at risk wear yellow Fall Risk armbands and slippers with non-skids on both sides. Communication of the patient's fall risk routinely occurs whenever the patient has a different caregiver.
Computerized Fall Risk Screening with Interventions
Using a computerized program, nurses assess the patient for fall risk at each shift and with changes in the patient's status. Fall prevention interventions are customized based upon the patient's risk level.
Fall Prevention Technology
The computerized program guides the nurse to implement best practices to prevent falls and injuries. Technology options include bed alarms, low beds, fall mats, enclosure beds, and chair alarms.
Patient/Family Education for Fall Prevention
Fall prevention begins at admission and throughout the hospital visit. Staff teaches the patient about their fall risk and ways to prevent falls, such as calling for assistance to get up, discussing side effects of medications, and taking extra precautions within the hospital environment. For patients with mobility issues, nurses and physical therapists collaborate towards improving the patient's strength and balance to minimize falls.