Ok this may be another one of my ranting posts, but I do get irritated when a patient falls and someone says, “Patients have a right to fall”! I’m not advocating for restraints to prevent falls, but I am advocating for enough staff to be available to patients when they are needed. I know we can’t prevent all falls, yet don’t we have a duty to minimize? And shouldn’t we be careful to make sure we are not using this mantra to cover up for substandard care?In my heart, I know that some of these falls were due to inadequate numbers of staff... Click To Tweet
Sometimes people are seriously hurt! Events involving Falls that resulted in death or permanent loss of function according to the Joint Commission Sentinel Event data (reporting is voluntary and statistics only include a small proportion of actual events) from 2004-2013:
- 2004-31 falls
I want to ask, did they fall because they wanted to and were exercising some freedom? What else might explain their fall?
Were they in pain and tired of waiting in bed for the nurse?
Did they have to use the bathroom and the call light was on the floor?
Were they confused? Overmedicated? Undermedicated?
Had they turned on the call light….15 minutes earlier. (Time is funny, to the patient lying in bed trying not to soil themselves even one minute can seem like an eternity. To the Nurse Assistant who is caring for ten patients, 15 min may only be long enough to give one patient a boost in bed. (See my post on repositioning patients for more about that!).
In my heart, I know that some of these falls were due to inadequate numbers of staff or staff who had inadequate skills and familiarity with the unit and patients to the best extent possible. And I’m willing to bet the costs of medical treatment and lawsuits were more than prevention would have been.
What do you think?