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After a fall in the hospital

Hospital safety - falls; Patient safety - falls

Falls can be a serious problem in the hospital. Factors that increase the risk of falls include:

Hospital staff often do not see patients fall. But falls require attention right away to lessen the risk of injury.

I Would Like to Learn About:

When the Patient Falls

If you are with a patient when they begin to fall:

After the Fall

Stay with the patient and call for help.

If the patient is confused, shaking, or shows signs of weakness, pain, or dizziness:

Once medical staff decides the patient can be moved, you need to choose the best way.

Watch the patient closely after the fall. You may need to check the patient's alertness, blood pressure and pulse, and possibly blood sugar.

Document the fall according to your hospital's policies.

References

Adams GA, Forrester JA, Rosenberg GM, Bresnick SD. Falls. In: Adams GA, Forrester JA, Rosenberg GM, Bresnick SD, eds. On Call Surgery. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 10.

Andrews J. Optimizing the built environment for frail older adults. In: Fillit HM, Rockwood K, Young J, eds. Brocklehurst's Textbook of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2017:chap 132.

Witham MD. Ageing and disease. In: Ralston SH, Penman ID, Strachan MWJ, Hobson RP, eds. Davidson's Principles and Practice of Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 32.

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Review Date: 1/18/2022  

Reviewed By: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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