Falls Management

While you are in hospital you may be at risk of having a fall. Hospital staff will talk to you, your family/caregivers about your risk of falls.

All people are vulnerable to falls regardless of age, though as you get older, there is often a higher risk of falling. If you have a fall while in hospital, it may lengthen your hospital stay.

Hospitals are unfamiliar places and regardless of the reason for admission, this can be a challenge when you are also unwell or injured. For example you may feel dizzy, or weak and less steady than you expect when you get up from bed. When you feel like this, you may be at risk of falling.

Falls in any situation can contribute to cause injury, loss of independence and for some people; there could be psychological impacts such as fear of falling, which can lead to an older person limiting their activity.

If you have any concerns about your risk of falls during your hospital stay, please speak to a staff member looking after you.

The multidisciplinary team undertakes managing and reducing the risk of falling during your hospital stay. This can include your doctor, nursing staff including a Clinical Nurse Consultant that specialises in falls prevention, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and other health professionals whose expert opinion may also be required.

All patients are screened and assessed for their risk of falling on admission, after a fall, after transfer to another ward, or if there is a change in their health condition.

Based on your assessment, the multidisciplinary team will identify and put in place interventions that will reduce your risk of falling. They will discuss and develop a specific care plan with you/your family and caregiver and provide information to help keep you safe.

Prior to discharge, please ensure you have asked all the questions you, your family/caregiver may have about reducing your risk of falling. On discharge, you may be referred to outpatient or community services to help you at home. Please speak to your General Practitioner (GP) to discuss any further concerns you may have about falls.

There are some simple actions you, your family and caregiver can take to reduce the risk of a fall while in hospital.

Bring with you into hospital:

  • A walking aid, glasses, and hearing aids if you use them.
  • Comfortable clothing that is not too long, too loose, or too tight.
  • Comfortable, well-fitting, flat, non-slip shoes or slippers.

While in hospital:

  • Always call staff for help when moving. Staff are here to assist you to stay safe.
  • Report any concerns to staff, ask for information.
  • Become familiar with your bedroom surroundings and hospital ward.
  • Get to know your bed controls, and how to use the nursing call bell.
  • Keep the nursing call bell, your glasses, footwear and walking aid in easy reach, and use them.
  • Do not rush – take your time to slowly get up from bed or a chair.
  • Be careful in wet areas such as the bathroom and toilet.
  • Get your balance before moving away from the bed or chair.
  • If you cannot easily get in and out of your bed or chair (because it is too low or too high), ask staff to lower or raise the bed or to find another more suitable chair. Some chairs can be adjusted.
  • Ask hospital staff to move furniture or other items that may cause a fall or trip.
  • Be careful walking around in the dark, especially going to the toilet at night.
  • Always use your walking frame, walking stick or other mobility aid if one has been recommended.
  • Do not walk around in bare feet; ensure you have safe footwear on.
Last Updated: 06/11/2019