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Patient falls continue to plague hospitals

There are, of course, many things that could occur in a hospital setting that might lead to a patient being injured. One problem that plagues hospitals throughout the nation, including those located in Western Pennsylvania, is patients falling. Patient falls happen for a variety of reasons and result in a wide range of injuries.

There are multiple approaches that could help reduce patient falls in a hospital. To deal with patients falling from beds, bed alarms are helpful. While falls can still happen when these devices are being used, in some cases the warning they provide may make it possible for a nurse to get to the patient before he or she loses balance or becomes too fatigued to make it to their destination.

Another place a patient might fall is in the bathroom. To combat this issue, some hospitals require that a healthcare provider accompany, and stay, with certain patients while they make use of the facilities. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is not a good option for all as many prefer to have privacy while using the restroom.

Nurses, the healthcare providers who have the most contact with patients have a course of action they believe would improve the problem. They assert that a better nurse to patient ratio would help to reduce the number of these falls. Their labor unions communicate this same message and academic studies support this contention as well. Because of the cost associated with this approach, however, it is not seen as a viable option for many hospitals.

Hospital patients could find that they are seriously injured in a fall at a hospital. Should this occur, it is possible that the hospital could be held responsible financially. Because these medical malpractice cases can be complicated, most find that it is beneficial to work with a lawyer who handles these types of personal injury cases.

Source: KUOW.org, “Hospitals, Nurses Clash Over How To Keep Patients From Falling,” John Ryan, Sept. 9, 2013

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