Falls in the hospital happen with a great deal of frequency. Many times, injuries from falls are more serious than the reason why someone is in the hospital in the first place.
When a patient is admitted, a nurse does an assessment which includes an evaluation of the fall risk. Is the patient frail, immobile, unsteady etc. If there is a high fall risk, the hospital should take certain measures. These include:
1. An alarm attached to the patient so that it will go off if the patient gets out of bed.
2. An attendant to come help the patient get out of bed, like for going to the bathroom.
3. Bedrails-hospitals cannot put up bedrails without the consent of the patient or the family. Bedrails are considered to be a restraint on freedom.
If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be at risk for fall discuss it with the hospital staff. Some hospitals can provide a person (known as a s”sitter”) to watch the patient.
Serious injuries can occur because of falls. Broken bones, bruising are common. But we have had cases where a patien's fall resulted in head injury known as a subdural hematoma. If a patient hits their head, the hospital should do a CT scan to make sure there is no bleeding. If there is, the patient needs to be taken to surgery quickly. Subdural hematomas can lead to death.
So remember that falls do happen in the hospital. Take precautions by alerting the staff about measures to be taken to prevent them. Insist on a CT scan of the head to rule out bleeding.
If you want to talk with us more about falls call toll free at 1-800-299-HURT. Or send us your information by using our contact form on this page or on any page on the site.