Falls Management

Slips, trips, and falls can happen to anyone whether in hospital or not. While there is a higher risk of falling as we get older, people of all ages can fall. Falls sometimes cause injuries, and a fear of falling. Both affect not only your life, but those around you.

Slips, trips and falls may be preventable, and this page provides information that will assist you in keeping safe. If you are being admitted, contact the hospital or clinic for more information about keeping safe while in hospital.

Talk to your doctor or health professional about your risk of falling and they will assess the risks and provide tips and tools to reduce your risk.

 

Falls education in hospital

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.

The multidisciplinary team manages and reduces the risk of falling during your hospital stay. This can include your doctor, nursing staff including a clinical nurse consultant who specialises in falls prevention, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, pharmacists and other health professionals whose expert opinion may 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. 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, ask staff to lower or raise the bed or to find another more suitable chair
  • 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

 

Helpful brochures

  • Orthostatic hypotension (PDF)
    Have orthostatic (postural) hypotension? This brochure will provide information on how to cope with this and strategies to keep safe and reduce the risk of falling.
  • Staying safe during and after hospital (PDF)
    Essential reading, this brochure provides information about how to stay safe during your admission to hospital and on discharge.
  • Getting up off the floor (PDF)
    This brochure will assist you in planning what to do if you have a fall. It gives advice on how to get up off the floor and enables you to write your plan down so others will know what to do. Keep it with you.
  • Fear of falling (PDF)
    Many people who fall are fearful that they will fall again and modify their behaviour and life to such a degree that it increases the risk of having another fall. This brochure will provide you with advice on how to address this fear.
  • Check list for healthy living (PDF)
    Looking after your health and wellbeing is essential for all ages. Completing this simple checklist will help you find areas when you may need to seek further medical or health professional advice.

 

Helpful websites

Last Updated: 01/12/2022