POSTED ON: Monday, 24th June, 2019 12:00 am   By: Derek Rockwell, DPT

Preventing Falls After Hospitalization

Preventing Falls After Hospitalization
  1. Home Safety/Home Set-up- Make sure each room throughout the home is clean with clear pathways and appropriate equipment installed as needed. Pick up or safely move any throw rugs out of the way due to tripping hazard, install grab bars next to any stairs or next to toilet and shower to improve stability and decrease fall risk, and purchase toilet riser and /or shower chair/tub as needed to improve transfer safety. 
  2. Assistive Device/Mobility- Determine stability/balance while ambulating inside of the home and decide if appropriate to use single point cane, four-wheeled walker, front wheeled walker, or standard walker and in some specific cases a wheelchair if absolutely needed.
  3. Medications- After returning home from hospital it is recommended to follow up with primary care physician within 2-3 weeks for medication review and medication reconciliation as sometimes medications are altered while staying in the hospital which can cause sedation, confusion, impaired balance, and orthostatic blood pressure as well as potential drug reactions/adverse effects and significant drug interactions. 
  4. Footwear- keep nonslip, comfortable, and well-fitting footwear.
  5. Pain Control/management- Falls are more prevalent with those who have increased pain or chronic pain, especially low back and lower extremities, due to decreased proprioception, sensation, and lack of protective reflexes. Control pain through the use of narcotic analgesics, non-narcotic analgesics, rest/relaxation techniques, modalities (Ice/Heat), Massage, and exercise.