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Hospital joins fight against falls

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PERRY COUNTY – Unintentional falls are a threat to your life, independence and health, especially if you are 65 and older.

Every 18 seconds, an older adult is treated in an emergency department for a fall and every 35 minutes someone in this population dies as a result of their injuries.

Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths among adults age 65 and older and according to the CDC, one in three older adults fall each year. Older adults are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes.

Falls are not a normal part of aging.

Individuals are encouraged to become active in an exercise program that improves strength, balance and coordination. Staying active and eating a healthy diet keeps your muscles toned and lessens the possibility of a fall.

Environmental factors include potential hazards in the home such as loose rugs, the absence of railings on stairs or grab bars in the bathroom, household pets and poor lighting.

Fall-prevention programs should offset problematic re-admissions and or lower the number of avoidable emergency-department visits, therefore impacting the healthcare reimbursement dollar.

Perry County Memorial Hospital has a fall-prevention program and an active interdisciplinary team that continuously works to ensure patient safety.

In order to help promote a safe environment in the hospital setting and reduce the potential for injuries to patients, visitors and staff, the Community Patient Safety Coalition of Southwestern Indiana-Kentucky Inc. established a group to address in-hospital fall prevention.

CPSC is a nonprofit organization consisting of representatives from tristate area hospitals and health-care providers collaborating and sharing resources to enhance patient safety issues with regard to not only fall prevention, but also surgery, laboratory services, medication, infection prevention and transitioning to home.  

While the CPSC hospitals are working to keep you safe, here are some things you as a patient can do to prevent a fall while in the hospital.

• Ask hospital staff for assistance – don’t get out of bed without calling your nurse.

• Do not go to the bathroom alone or get up to use the bedside commode without assistance.

• Ask questions about the medication you are taking and its side effects that could put you at risk for a fall.

• Always follow hospital staff’s instructions – your safety is their No. 1 priority.

• Ask how you can ensure safety at home.