Hospital identifies topics for falls video

While planning its in-house education video on fall prevention, project members at Long Beach (CA) Memorial Medical Center, developed a list of topics to include and criteria for effective training.

These were the important topics and messages they wanted to include:

• Always practice safe patient transfer and ambulation techniques.

• Anyone can fall. Always anticipate the possibility, and prepare a place to sit.

• Err on the side of caution. Get help if unsure of the patient's transfer status.

• Always be in "teaching mode."

• Use firm vocal commands to direct the patient.

• Don't panic, and help the patient remain calm.

• A strong directive such as "Stand!" might elicit a response that provides assistance to minimize potential injury.

• Learn the mechanics of what happens during a fall.

• Keep the patient close. Minimize reaching.

• Don't try to hold up a falling patient. Instead, allow the patient to slide down your thigh. This response accomplishes several goals. It decreases the speed of the fall, decreases the height of the fall, and decreases the risk of injury to the caregiver.

• Don't twist.

• Protect vulnerable anatomical parts.

• Protect the head.

• Target buttocks to floor.

• What to do after the fall:

o Remain calm. What's done is done. The patient isn't going anywhere.

o Get a pillow and make the patient as comfortable as possible.

o Have a nurse assess the patient for injury.

o Don't "gang" lift the patient. Get a mechanical lift device to raise the patient back onto the bed or gurney.