In the News
Falls remain an important cause of patient injury in hospitals, despite ongoing efforts to prevent them, according to an alert from the Joint Commission (http://bit.ly/1MkeUsK). Because medications, medical problems, and surgery, as well as hospitalization itself, can lead to weakness or confusion, patients of all ages and with any condition can be at risk for falling. Factors that contribute to falls include inadequate patient assessments, poor communication, a lack of compliance with safety protocols, the physical environment, and inadequate staffing or staff training. The Joint Commission's sentinel event alert includes recommendations on preventing falls; specific actions are suggested for raising staff awareness of the problem, establishing interdisciplinary fall prevention teams, using standardized tools to assess each patient's risk, creating care plans based on patient-specific risks, and continuing to learn from falls that have occurred.