Before leaving the room, have you thought about preventing falls?

Here are a few recommendations for what to include in the checklist of things to do before leaving the room:

  • Suggest that the elderly person goes to the toilet
  • Check that he or she is wearing a pair of good slippers
  • Check that the wheels on the bed are locked.
  • Check that the bed is in the low position.
  • Ensure that the patient can easily reach the bedside table and the bed alarm.
  • Position the infusion stand on the side of the bed where the patient gets out.
  • Ensure that there are enough surfaces for the patient to hold on to in the bedroom, bathroom, and corridor (chairs or grab bars).
  • Remove anything which is not required for the patient’s care or well-being from the room.
  • Ensure that the area through which the patient needs to walk is sufficiently wide.
  • Install walking aids correctly.
checklist soignants chutes

Is it possible to prevent elderly people from falling in care institutions? It certainly is!

When it comes to preventing falls, the simplest things are often the most effective – but probably the most difficult to implement in a systematic manner. Let’s get together for a quick ten-minute team training session on the measures nurses can adopt to prevent falls (download the Fall Prevention in Care Institutions poster). This training will give you the opportunity to make the link between scientific recommendations and the measures to be adopted.

Implementing simple measures to prevent falls in care institutions.

From the list of interventions that carers can make, we can differentiate between general measures and those that are patient specific.
The general measures have an important impact on the number of falls. Setting up a fall register can reduce the frequency of incidents by 50%.[1] Implementing a multifaceted approach can reduce it by 30%.[2]
checklist soignants chutes

What is the role of the nurse before the patient leaves the room?

A second step would be to introduce care protocols for patients at risk of falling. This should include a checklist of things to do before leaving the room which can enable us to focus on factors which influence fall prevention significantly. Patients live in their rooms, move about the furniture, modify their environment and adapt some of their habits to life in hospital. Nurses also do this, based on their habits, culture, and convictions. This results in a highly volatile environment susceptible to producing undesirable events. The idea that everything can be foreseen and controlled is unrealistic, but keeping a safety net at the ready is entirely feasible.
checklist soignants chutes
Fall prevention therefore depends on what happens at the patient’s bedside. Compiling a checklist of things to do before a patient leaves the room is a simple way for carers to ensure that their care practices are up to scratch.

[1] Rapport Qualidem. (https://gbiomed.kuleuven.be/english/research/50000687/50000695/qualidem/doc/qii-14-fr-synthese-et-conclusions.pdf), chapitre 11, p10.

[2] Miake-Lye I. M., Hempel S. Ganz D. A., & Shekelle P. G. (2013). « Inpatient fall prevention programs as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review ». Annals of Internal Medicine, 158, 390–396.

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