Falls In Hospitals Can Be Difficult To Avoid
When we think of how people get injured in hospitals, our thoughts immediately go to medical malpractice. We rarely think of falls, which most remind us of retail stores or commercial buildings. But falls in hospitals are serious, and are more common than you may think they are.
Falls are Common in Hospitals
A study conducted at the University of Florida found that people over the age of 50, are the most likely to suffer a fall in a hospital, and that there are over 1 million falls every year in hospitals (although not all of those result in injury).
Hospitals are a unique setting when it comes to prevention of slip and falls. On the one hand, hospitals have heavy visitor and employee foot traffic just like any retail business would have. On the other hand, of course, there are the patients, who are not prisoners—if they are able, they are free to walk about the hospital freely, even though they may not always be able to do so safely.
Why So Dangerous?
Falls at hospitals can be devastating, because the people who fall often are hospital patients. This is a community that is already hurt, sick or injured, and which may not be in the physical condition to avoid a fall, or break a fall. Many may be older, and more frail.
However, this doesn’t account for the relatively young age of 50, the age of many hospital fall victims, who, based on their age, may not be so frail.
Hospital staff, busy and attending to patients, may also not be as trained to look for dangerous fluids on a floor, or items on a floor that could cause falls.
Patient Unfamiliarity & Mobility
There may also be a problem with unfamiliarity; some theorize that hospital patients are distracted, being ill or in pain or dealing with new disabilities, or even overconfident, as many younger patients may think they are more mobile or able than they actually are.
The study is not clear as to how many patients fall, who aren’t supposed to be walking at all. Just like in nursing homes, hospitals have patients who may want to get out of bed and be mobile, but who shouldn’t be, or who may tend to roam. Many hospitals are now having patients wear colored armbands, to alert staff to patients who they may see walking on their own who should not be walking.
Many patients may fall in hospital rooms, which can get cramped and cluttered (especially when friends and family bring items into the room).
Some will get up and roam when they feel that they need something, but calls to nursing stations are not heeded; many hospitals now are trying to respond to patient calls quicker, to avoid patients from trying to seek out help on their own.
Contact our Rhode Island personal injury lawyers at Robert E. Craven & Associates at 401-453-2700 today if you suffered a fall inside a hospital, or you have family that was injured in or by a hospital.