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Patient falls a cause of extended stays in hospitals

If you fall in a hospital or nursing care facility, there is always a risk that you could hit your head and have a minor or major brain injury as a result. If you fall, you also expect that someone will be there to help you. This recent news report from Oct. 16 points out just how serious a fall can be for some, and it also discusses what hospitals are doing to try to prevent these instances from happening.

Franklin, Ohio, readers may have heard about the new study from the Journal of Patient Safety about errors in the medical field. Falls are considered one of the major problems patients face in some hospitals and how hospitals deal with them varies. In Washington, for example, hospitals have to report when a patient falls to the state health department. Some hospitals have bed alarms that will go off if a patient gets out of bed.

One patient discussed his personal bout with the danger of falling in the report. According to him, it wasn't his treatment that left him weak and in bed. He claims that he was only meant to be in the hospital for an overnight stay, but the nurse had to give him a sleep aid because of his back pain. Unfortunately, the sleep aid he was given, Ambien, is known to cause sleepwalking, and he claims that he was in a dreamlike state from it. The next morning, he was found on the floor with three broken ribs.

Only 39 states in the U.S. have to report falls. Now, hospitals are hoping to get rid of the risk by having bed alarms installed and by hiring nursing staff that has time to respond to the alarms that go off. Civil compensation may be sought by those who are injured in hospitals due to falls, especially when those falls are due to negligence.

Source:  IdeaStream, "To Reduce Patient Falls, Hospitals Try Alarms, More Nurses" No Author Given, Oct. 16, 2013

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