While March may emphasize a national focus on patient health across healthcare providers, the caretakers at Newman Regional Health in Emporia, KS use a multi-faceted approach addressing the needs of patients who are designated as a fall risk every day.
Bed and chair sensor alarms provide an audible alert to staff when patients are changing their position or attempting to get up on their own. The staff members are able to respond quickly to the alert to assist the patient and keep them safe.
It may sound simple, but yellow non-skid socks and a yellow arm band provide visual reminders for all staff to alert them to high fall risk patients. These visual interventions provide other departments such as Environmental Services and Nutritional Services an awareness of those patients that are at higher risk of falling. There is additional signage posted in the patient room as well.
According to Kaylene Leek, RN/BSN, the Director ICU/3rd Floor for Newman Regional Health, “The nurses do a safety assessment of each patient’s fall risk potential each shift.”
“We also utilize our peers in Physical Therapy to help assess and develop an individualized plan of care for patients with mobility issues. This might include always using a gait belt during ambulation or that the patient requires two people to transfer or ambulate. This could also include use of assistive devices such as a walker or cane,” she added.
The hospital staff also believes that communication with the patient and other staff members is essential. They use a patient communication board to indicate how the patient moves, if they use assistive devices, or requires safety alarms so that any care staff going into a patient room can see quickly how to best care for the patient.
Leek reminds us, “While we recognize that the goal is to never have a fall in the hospital, the reality is that it is impossible to prevent some falls.”
Combining technology, communication, training and experience, the teams at Newman Regional Health strive to do absolutely everything possible to keep patients safe and free of falls or injury.
March 10-16 is recognized as Patient Safety Awareness Week for 2019