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Hospital Falls & the Use of Handrails

As the sixth leading cause of death among older adults in Canada, falls and injury are a serious health concern to hospitals and healthcare facilities in Canada.

It is estimated that approximately 1/3 of seniors in Canada (aged 65+) will experience a serious fall that can pose a major impact on ones physical and psychological quality of life (Accreditation Canada, 2014). Of the 235,000 falls that resulted in a visit to the emergency room, approximately 84,000 lead to an extended hospital stay.

A slip or fall can occur for a number of reasons, and is often the result of a combination of factors, that can include, but are not limited to;

  • Unstable balance
  • Urinary frequency
  • High Risk Medication
  • Impaired Vision

As an outcome of high fall frequencies, hospitals and healthcare facilities are faced with substantial strain on their healthcare process, often resulting in a longer hospital stay for patients, the need for additional services, and the potential of complications that can result from a fall. Direct heath care costs, as a result of a slip or fall, are currently estimated as a $2B annual expenditure (GoC, 2013).

Preventative practices have been established to reduce the number of overall falls, cut down on complications, and eliminate unnecessary costs that accrue from fall-related hospital stays (UoM, 2009).

Assistive devices such as handrails and grab bars are put in place to avert patients from falling, reducing the risk of injury. Select hospitals have even incorporated fall prevention practices, such as moving room items into patient reach, as a part of scheduled rounds (AMN, 2013).

Shape, size, and, placement of handrails and other aids, play a powerful role in slip and fall prevention. Circular shaped fixtures are convenient and accommodating to all hand shapes and sizes. Studies have indicated that patients are less likely to use assistive devices if it requires them to take a longer route, meaning extra attention should be considered in the placement and location such devices. Rails should be placed at various heights, to maximize patient ability to assist self/caregiver and caregiver to assist patient. When installed correctly, handrails, grab bars, and various assistive aids promote safer hospitals visits (Kumar, 2009).

Belroc Group specializes in specialty products for the healthcare industry such as handrails, grab bars, privacy solutions and surface protection. Our staff works with many facilities every day to help determine their specific requirements propose economical solutions. For more information, please  us at (613) 548-4339.

Source: New feed