All hospital patients aged over 65 should be considered to be at high risk of falling and have an appropriate care plan drawn up, according to guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
This also applies to all patients aged 50 and above who have dementia, stroke, vision or hearing problems and other underlying conditions.
NICE said nurses and doctors should identify the individual risks of these patients to help reduce serious injury and death. For example, whether they had fallen previously, what drugs they are taking, and whether they had poor eyesight or problems with balance or walking.
Clinicians should then create a tailored plan to reduce the risk of falls – for example, by adjusting medication, offering alternative footwear and helping patients go to the lavatory.
The NICE guidelines also advise clinicians to encourage patients to use their bedside calling system and to explain to friends and relatives when and how bedrails might be adjusted.
What do you think?
- What measures have you introduced in your clinical area to reduce falls?
- Are some falls inevitable?
- Can falls prevention measures have a negative impact on rehabilitation?
- Do falls risk assessments change how care is delivered?