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PATIENT FALLS ARE NOT AVOIDABLE ERRORS

A perspective article recently published in a respected medical journal stated that falls should not be considered avoidable medical errors. Despite efforts to reduce their occurrence, patient falls have been proven to be an ongoing problem with as many as one in five patients falling at least once during their hospital stay.

According to research sited in the article such falls lead to injuries, longer stays and lawsuits, and increased hospital bills averaging about $4,000.

The author stated that without well established guidelines on preventing falls use of restraints may become more common.

Restraints restrict mobility and have been associated with increase risk of bed sores, breathing difficulty and death.

The hospital that I practice in has not used restraints for many years.

Patients who are at risk for falling have a nursing assistant at their bedside continually to prevent them from getting out of bed inappropriately and when they do get up to assist them thereby preventing the patient from falling.