Surprisingly, a leading cause of injuries suffered while a patient at a hospital is a fall down. In fact, hospital falls represent a major public health problem. Common challenges that place patients at risk for falls in hospitals include unfamiliar environment, acute illness, surgery, prolonged bed rest, medications, and the like.
Consequently, hospitals developed programs to prevent falls, usually categorizing them as “anticipated,” “accidental,” or “physiological,” with nurses typically playing a key role in the implementation of these programs since they are directly working with the patients. However, despite these programs, there does not seem to be a significant reduction in the number or frequency of falls in the hospital setting. Often this is due to inattention by nurses or an insufficient number of nurses on duty to tend to the patients in a time manner.
Then what are some things you can do to protect yourself from suffering a fall while in the hospital? The lawyers at Villari, Brandes & Giannone have compiled a list of some safety tips to help prevent falls while in the hospital.
- When you need help, use the call light or call bell.
- If you need to use the bathroom, ask the nursing staff for help, especially if you are unsteady. There should even be a call light on the bathroom wall for additional help. Do not assume you can do it all on your own, especially given the effects of medications or prolonged bed rest that may have weakened your muscles or thrown off your balance.
- Do not be afraid to request a member of the nursing staff to remain in the bathroom with you to fully ensure your safety.
- If you are taking medicines that result in the need to use the bathroom often, make sure to ask for help when you get up. You may also consider using a commode or urinal.
- Take your time getting out of a bed or chair, particularly if you are taking medicines that cause you to feel dizzy or sleepy. Be sure to sit at the edge of the bed for a few seconds before getting up, and if possible have someone there to assist you to get up and then assist you to keep your balance.
- Use the nonslip socks provided by the hospital and wear them whenever you are up.
- While awake, wear your eyeglasses and/or hearing aid(s).
- If you need walking support, use walkers and canes. However, DO NOT use other common hospital room items for support, like bedside tables, furniture, IV poles, etc. because they are not stable and are often on wheels.
- Be sure that the nurse or other healthcare team member places the call light, telephone, water glass and all other important personal items within your easy reach from bed.
- Inform a staff member about any and all concerns you have for your safety.
If you are injured from a fall suffered in a hospital, you may be entitled to compensation. Hospitals may be held responsible for failing to properly ensure the safety of their inpatients.
If you have suffered from a serious fall injury, contact the lawyers at Villari, Brandes & Giannone. Our team of Philadelphia injury lawyers have represented thousands of clients in claims and lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and many other states around the country. We are dedicated to fighting for injured people, making sure they receive the compensation they deserve. Call now or schedule a free online consultation.