Contact
How can we help?
Attorney

Falls in Hospitals: How and Why They Happen | Parian Law Firm

Posted on - Friday, January 22, 2016 under Slip and Fall

When we’re in the hospital, we’re there to get better. While hospitals are places of healing, the inherent vulnerability of patients can lead to an increased risk of falls.

Like falls elsewhere, hospital falls can lead to serious injuries, such as fractures, subdural hematomas, and excessive bleeding. The consequences can be even worse for a patient whose health is already compromised.

A study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services concluded that between 700,000 and 1 million people fall in U.S. hospitals every single year. Another study conducted on behalf of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that approximately 30% of inpatient falls result in injury, with 4% to 6% of those falls resulting in serious injuries or death.

The NIH study also analyzed the circumstances surrounding patient falls in hospitals and the activities that patients were engaged in at the time of their falls. The 11 most common activities that led to patient falls were:

  • Ambulating/walking
  • Getting out of bed
  • Sitting down or standing up
  • Using bedside commode
  • Using toilet
  • Standing or sitting (not trying other action)
  • Reaching for object
  • Sleeping or repositioning in bed
  • Getting into bed
  • Using bathtub
  • Dressing or undressing

The reasons for these falls were equally varied according to the study. They included:

  • Lost balance
  • Slipped or tripped
  • Dizziness or fainted
  • Muscle weakness
  • Hip, leg, or knee gave out
  • Used bad support
  • Asleep or sedated

As noted, many hospital falls are preventable. The NIH study concluded that hospitals can and should take more steps to avoid patient falls, especially when patients are up and about:

“Given that falls occurred when patients were unassisted and ambulating and were often related [to using the bathroom], prevention efforts that focus on increasing staff assistance with ambulation and providing supervised or assisted toileting schedules may be helpful. Many patients who needed an ambulatory assistive device were not provided one; therefore, attempts to provide walkers and canes for bedside use after physical therapy sessions or encouraging patients and families to bring an assistive device from home for use in the hospital could help prevent some falls. It is also important to target the prevention strategies to patients at high risk for falling.”

At The Parian Law Firm in metro Atlanta, Georgia, we represent injury victims exclusively and are committed to getting justice and compensation for our clients. If you or a loved one has been injured in a hospital fall, please contact us at (770) 727-5550 or chat live online with a member of our staff today.