Medically Edited and Reviewed by Dr. Erin Zinkhan MD, BSBE
Patient Safety in 2019
There is nothing more important in the world of healthcare than patient safety. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has said that they consider patient safety to be "indistinguishable from the delivery of quality health care." A patient and his or her loved ones want to rest assured that patient safety is being taken seriously.
Patient safety products are crucial when caring for a patient who may be prone to falling. At Vitality Medical, we prioritize patient safety. In this article, we will discuss specifically fall protection at home and some of the products that can enhance patient safety in a hospital or care facility.
Falls are among the leading causes of injuries among the elderly. Falls can be very serious for elderly individuals and incredibly expensive. Falls can lead to hip fractures. Prolonged hospitalization for a fracture from a fall can impact overall health and well-being. Falls and the resultant fracture can make a person 5 to 20 percent more likely to die than people who did not have a fall. Furthermore, those who have fallen often require long-term or nursing facility care.
Safety Around the House
There are some simple and effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of falling around the house. It is important to ensure that walking paths are clear and loose cords are out of th way. Rugs and carpets should be tightened or completely removed. There are also some tools that can be used to make the living space safer. Some of these tools include grab bars that help with standing and getting in and out of the bathtub; shower chairs, which provide individuals prone to instability a way to shower while sitting down; raised toilet seats, which improve stability and ease in getting on and off of the toilet; and reachers, which can pick up out-of-reach items on a high shelf.
Another item that can improve patient safety and comfort is a pair of non-skid socks. These socks are available in a wide variety of styles, but most feature a tread or skid-resistant rubber sole. Non-skid socks are usually much warmer than standard socks and are much more like a house slipper. These socks have greater traction and decrease the chance of slipping and falling, whether at home or in the hospital.
Tripping or stumbling while walking is the most common cause of falling. However, some individuals are also prone to falling out of bed while sleeping. It's a common misconception that falling out of bed is a problem that only occurs during childhood. It can actually happen during any stage in life. To prevent patients and loved ones from rolling out of bed, bed safety rails can be installed. Bed safety rails exist for all bed sizes. Keep in mind that hospital bed rails are different than homestyle bedrails. Be sure to select the correct rails for your specific bed.
Aside from bed rails, fall mats like the Tri-Fold Bedside Fall Protection Mat can protect from falls by providing a high-density layer of foam to absorb impact and reduce the risk of injury.
Medical Alarm Monitoring
Another great way to enhance the safety of yourself or your loved ones is by installing a patient safety alarm. There are several different types of patient alarms, from door alarms to bed alarms. Each type of alarm is convenient and easy to use. These alarms give caregivers the ability to monitor the activity of patients or loved ones, who may be prone to falling out of bed, wandering, or sleep walking, and therefore may potentially put themselves or others at risk of harm.
Fall-related injuries may require extensive and long-lasting rehabilitation. Certain safety aids can make rehabilitation safer and smoother. One of these aids is a safety roller. Safety rollers are similar to standard walkers, but have four wheels as opposed to the typical two or none. Safety rollers allow people, who struggle with walking the ability, to move a bit more fluidly while also receiving sturdy support. There are both posterior, or rear-facing, and anterior, or front-facing, safety rollers. Both styles of safety rollers stabilize individuals during rehabilitation and recovery. For some patients for whom rehabilitation back to their previous level of physical health is unlikely, patient lifts and transport chairs may better meet their needs. One good example is the 4-in-1 Body Up Evolution Patient Lift, which serves as a commode chair, bath/shower chair, indoor wheel chair, and transfer chair