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What should hospitals be doing do to prevent falls?

When you go to the hospital in New York City, you likely do so believing that you will be safe. Yet simply because care services are rendered at hospitals and medical centers does not necessarily mean that they are safe. In fact, your condition may contribute to the dangers that you may face there, particularly from falls. The question then becomes is what should hospitals be doing in order to keep you from falling.

While falling may seem to be the least of your concerns when dealing with a debilitating condition or injury, the fact is that in your compromised state, the damage sustained in a fall can be much more extensive. Information shared by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality shows that between 700,000 and one million patients fall in hospitals every year in the U.S. What’s more, it goes on to say that injuries sustained in a hospital fall may often not be covered by Medicare or Medicaid. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the hospital staff to guarantee your safety as a patient. When it comes to preventing falls, that responsibility may go beyond simply making sure that the bedrails are up.

The AHRQ lists certain universal fall precautions that apply to all patients. These include:

  •          Familiarizing you with your surroundings, including where the nurse call light is and how to use it if you need assistance.
  •          Keeping your hospital bed at the correct height during transfers and while you’re sleeping, and ensuring its brakes are locked.
  •          Clearing the floors of any clutter or spills, keeping your personal possessions within your reach, and providing you with nonslip footwear.
  •          Outfitting rooms, bathrooms and hallways with handrails.

The failure of a facility to do this could easily be seen as it placing you and other patients at risk

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