Fall Prevention Program for Seniors

Family members can play a very valuable role in the safety of their loved one during a hospitalization. Patients’ families are privileged to knowledge of home routines that may affect behavior in hospital. Please pass along any information that may assist us to provide a safe environment. For example, use of a cane/walker that has not been brought to hospital or poor sleeping habits.

Please ask the physiotherapist to assess your walking aide (walker, cane) from home for safety and appropriateness. As well, please ask for advice before assisting your family member to walk.

Patients sometimes become confused during a hospital admission. Some of the “culprits” are medications, illness, unfamiliar surroundings and disruption of normal routine. Confusion may lead to a fall!  If you notice any new episodes of confusion or unsteadiness during your visit, please tell a staff member. We ask that you be part of the safety team during your family member’s hospitalization.

The fall prevention program has seven components: 

  1. Inclusion of family members as part of the team
  2. Indicators to assess the risk of the patient falling
  3. Physiotherapy Assessment for all admitted patients who are at risk of falling
  4. Green dot/sticker system to identify patients at risk
  5. This information
  6. Education of staff and family members about the program
  7. Review of all incidents of patients falling

Green Dot/Sticker Identification System

The green dot/sticker is used to alert staff that the patient is at risk of falling. A green “falling man” sticker is placed on the mobility sheet above the bed, and a green dot is put on the Nursing Care Plan, in the patient’s hospital chart.

Some of the safety precautions taken to prevent falls in the high risk population are:  

  • Keeping the call bell within the patient’s reach
  • Bed sides up where nursing assessment indicates
  • Patients are asked to wear rubber soled shoes (slippers are unsafe for walking)
  • Leaving a night light on at the bedside
  • Leaving a light in the bathroom at all times
  • Keeping the bed wheels locked
  • The least use of physical and chemical restraints (as per legislation)
  • Aides are placed by the bedside within reach e.g. canes, walkers.

Some of the ways you can help:

It is fine to let the side of the bed down while you are visiting, but please put it back up when you leave.  Please alert nursing staff when you end your visit, so that all safety precautions may be restored.  Education handouts about fall prevention, “hip savers” and “lifeline” are available from Physiotherapy and Nursing staff.