Falls are the most commonly reported adverse event in hospitals (Radecki, 2018, p 1). Falls are contributed to multiple factors including mobility, altered mentation, previous falls, and dependence of activities of daily living (ADLs) (Huey-Ming, 2015 p 1). Falls contribute to complications such as death, disability, increased length of stay, placement in skilled nursing facilities, law suits, and psychological distress. Interventions to prevent falls and factors that contribute to falls have been identified but falls continue to be a serious safety threat (Samples, 2015, p 1).
700,000 to 1 million patients fall during their hospitalization in the United States (Radecki, 2018, p 1). The cost of falls is expected to be more than $40 billion in 2020 in the United States (Samples, 2015, p 1). As indicated by the World Health Organization, 424,000 falls occur that are fatal. These falls occur most commonly in adults aged 65 years old and older (Radecki, 2018, p 1). Patients who have a fall that results in injury stay approximately 6.3 more days in the hospital and the cost of their admission is $13,000 more than a patient who did not fall during their hospital admission (Huey-Ming, 2015, p 1).
Currently hospitalized patients fall risk are assessed using fall risk assessments and screening tools (Huey-Ming, 2015, p 3). The Morse Fall Scale is one tool used to assess the patients fall risk. The Morse Fall Scale is a 6 item tool used to assess the patients physiological fall risk. The MFS consist of; history of falls, secondary diagnosis, ambulatory aids, intravenous/heparin locks, gait, and mental status (Lim, 2018, p 3). Patient’s who are determined a fall risk are placed on a bed or chair alarm which are used to remind the patient to wait for assistance before trying to ambulate independently and to alert the Nurse or Nurse Aide that the patient is getting out of bed/chair. Frequent rounding on the patient is also done in hopes of preventing a patient fall (Huey-Ming, 2015, p 3).
Education is provided to the patient and family members, if present, on fall prevention. Other fall prevention practices include placing the call bell within reach, demonstrating how to use the call bell to call for assistance, placing the bed in the lowest position, and placing the urinal within reach (Kiyoshi-Teo, 2017, p 2). Even though these fall prevention strategies have been put into place falls continue to be a serious safety threat (Samples, 2015, p 1).
Falls place a large impact on the hospital and the patients. Starting in 2009 Medicaid and Medicare ended payment for treating preventable injuries that happen during a patient’s hospitalization. These injuries include fractures, dislocations, intercranial injuries, etc.; which are commonly caused by falls. Medicaid and Medicare have also started a 1% deduction in pay to hospitals that “hospitals scoring in the top quartile for the rates of harmful conditions occurring to inpatients during hospitalization”...