Promoting patient safety is one of the most important aspects of health care. Providing a safe environment is just as essential as meeting the psychosocial and physiological needs of a patient. Safe healthcare environment shortens the length of patient hospitalization. In addition, it minimizes the frequency of accidents inside the hospital to both patients and healthcare personnel. Overall, a safe environment lessens the cost of health care services and allows the nurses to function at their optimal level.
Falls may be brought about by many things. Lack of exercise and poor nutrition can cause falls as much as obstacles from a disorganized and messy room can cause a patient to tip off while walking. The elderly (65 years and above) and the young ones (2 years and below) have the most recorded cases of falls both in the health care settings and at home. Enumerated below are some of relating factors risk for falls:
- Inadequate lighting
- Presence of objects on stairs and floors
- Wet spots on floor
- Cluttered environment (clutter on bedside tables, closet and shelves; no anti-slip mat in bed and shower area)
- Lack of handrails and grab bars
- Out of reach shelves and bedside table
- Unsecured electrical wires
- Postoperative conditions
- Visual problems: macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, etc.
- Hearing difficulties
- Certain medical conditions such as arthritis, orthostatic hypotension, anemia, vascular diseases, neuropathy
- Impaired physical mobility such as foot problems, decreased strength of the lower extremity
- Impaired balance
- Diminished mental status such as confusion, delirium, dementia, impaired reality testing
- Use of alcohol or narcotics
- Use of certain medications such as antihypertensive agents, mixing medications and alcohol, diuretics, tricyclic antidepressants, anti anxiety medications, tranquilizers and etc.
- Improper use of assistive devices
- Elderly patient (65 years old or over)
- Prosthesis on the lower limbs
- Children 2 years old and below