The Joint Commission launches educational campaign on preventing falls

July 31, 2019
Free downloadable educational materials help educate patients on fall prevention

The Joint Commission has released its new Speak Up to Prevent Falls campaign — featuring free, downloadable educational materials in English and Spanish to help educate patients and their health care providers on how to avoid unnecessary falls.

Hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals every year and 30 to 50 percent of these patients sustain an injury. And, between 50-75 percent of elder patients suffer from a nursing home fall each year. Of these multiple falls: one out of five cause a serious injury such as broken bones or head injury, with the overall average cost for a fall injury totaling about $14,000.

The campaign’s ready-made, easy-to-read resources include:

 · An infographic poster/flyer for patients and their families in three sizes, all available in English and Spanish.

· An animated video, available in English and Spanish, to incorporate in hospital programming.

· A distribution guide with recommendations on how health care organizations can use and distribute the materials to patients and their families, caregivers and advocates.

Speak Up to Prevent Falls outlines how to prevent falls and offers four primary areas of direction that patients, their caregivers and advocates can follow to actively prevent the risk of falls.

Pay attention to health: Exercise regularly to build strength and balance, get frequent vision checks and communicate with doctors about how to prevent or manage possible medication side effects that could induce dizziness.

Take extra precautions: Recommended precautionary steps include turning on lights when entering a room; using handrails on staircases; wearing shoes with non-slip soles; and replacing rubber tips on canes and walkers when they become worn.

Make small changes to home: Recommended modifications include: decluttering regular pathways, including routes to the bathroom; installing timers and motion sensors on lights; using night lights in bedroom, bathroom and hallway; replacing rugs that can slip with rubber mats; and installing non-slip mats in bathtub or shower and grab bars near toilet, bathtub or shower.

Ask for help in the hospital or nursing home: Patients are encouraged to always use their call button to ask for caregiver assistance getting out of bed and for help going to the toilet. In addition, direction is given to lower the height of the patient’s bed and side rails.