With patient falls costing the NHS £2.3billion a year, this remains one of the most important areas of focus for the health service and the safety team at Heart of England.
If a patient falls, their recovery time will be delayed and therefore their time spent in hospital may increase which is bad news for the patient and their health and the Hospital who may then experience increased pressures on the available bed space.
At HEFT all patients considered to be at risk of falling will have an individually tailored falls care plan which details interventions clinical teams can consider to reduce risk. There are also specialised falls clinics and a falls specialist nurse dedicated to supporting patients and clinical teams in this area.
If and when a fall does occur, the patient will have a medical review to assess for any injury and the next of kin will be immediately notified. A report of the fall is also made so that the number of falls can be recorded and monitored each month by the Hospital.
On admission to hospital, one of the first things teams do is identify which patients are most likely to fall so that they can target risk reduction measures appropriately. The risk reduction measures can be something as simple as ensuring patients are reminded to call or buzz if they require assistance.
All ‘at risk’ patients are given a special falls and fractures leaflet to read. Patients who are unable to use their call bell, if they are confused for example, may be nursed in a busier area of the ward where staff are more visible to them and the patient is more visible to staff.
Very occasionally clinical teams may consider having a member of staff with the patient throughout the day and night. This is not necessarily something a patient would wish to occur and this option will only be considered after all other methods of risk reduction have been ruled out.
Patients must be allowed their freedom and a certain level of mobility during their stay in hospital, so we are committed to working on reducing risk and minimising harm to patients whilst in our care.