With Fall Prevention Month coming this September and budgets for next year due, we wanted to highlight some ideas you might want to allocate resources for fall prevention and fall recovery.
Falls are a major concern for all organizations. A chilling statistic is that every second of the day, a person over the age of 65 falls. This makes falls the most leading cause of injury for this age group. Breaking it down more, 700,000-1,000,000 patients fall within the hospital setting per year. This leads to injuries ranging from bruises, broken hips, subdural hematoma, and death in some cases. The goal is to reduce these statistics when patients are within our care.
For patients in bed in the ICU, the ideal method is using a ceiling lift with either a repositioning sling under the patient or a universal sling. With this system, one caregiver can safely and quickly move even a ventilator patient to a chair and back in minutes with much less discomfort and fear felt by the patient. We are happy to discuss questions on installations, application, etc.
Early ambulation for patients is the agreed upon key to faster recovery but can be challenging due to lack of mobility. When ambulating a patient down a hallway or in a therapy room, a floor lift with over 80” vertical height like our InoLift combined with a walking sling or walking pants ensures the patient will not fall and can also increase the patient’s mobility and confidence. A non-powered, souped-up walker with lifting capacity is also another solution. This device provides seat pads that are normally retracted but can swivel when ambulating to either prevent a fall or provide a place to sit if the patient becomes tired. The patient can then be rolled back to the room with the device if they do not have the energy to continue. It also comes with a O2 holder and an IV pole making it easier to the caregiver. Within PT gyms, a ceiling lift over a track, stairs or treadmills also provides maximum support and safety if a fall were to begin. Many facilities even install ceiling lifts in their hallways to assist with ambulation.
If a fall were to occur despite best efforts, there are several products that can help pick someone up without placing physical demands on the medical staff. Our floor lift, while having maximum height, also goes to the floor. We also offer a lightweight portable lift that can be assembled around a fallen patient in under a minute and then quickly lift them off the floor. It’s great to have on floors in case of emergencies.
When sending patients home, we highly recommend vertical grab bars in the shower/tub and by the sink and toilet in addition to the common horizontal bars. We also recommend poles and walking rail where needed to help walk and by the bed, sitting chair, toilet and even eating area. Still looking for more, check out our recently published article on Bathroom Safety in “Homecare Magazine”
We wish everyone a great month as we prepare to celebrate fall prevention month.