Medical Essay Sample -Fall Prevention

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Introduction

Falls are currently the leading medical complications that medical institutions experience on a daily basis. The aftermath of falls and fall-related injuries are dreadful because they can lead to mortality or morbidity of the older people. However, the most devastating consequence of falls is that they lead to increased health care costs. According to Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) (2014), there is no any other trauma that costs more than falls. At least one third of the elderly aged above 65 years experience falls several times per year. These falls take place either in medical facilities or in aged care facilities (CEC, 2014). According to Australian research, older people in nursing and home care facilities are at a higher risk of experiencing falls. Additionally, in facilities where a large number of the elderly suffer from dementia, approximately 80% falls are experienced yearly (Nitz, Cyarto, Andrews, Fearn, Fu, Haines, Haralambous, Hill,Hunt, Lea, E., Moore, Renehan, & Robinson, 2012).  The CEC is working effectively with the Ministry of Health and the NSW Falls Prevention Program for the purpose of preventing falls.  The NSW Falls program aims to prevent falls and mitigate the cost-associated effects of falls and injuries that arise from falls (CEC, 2014). Fall prevention is a significant area in the medical field. Therefore, there are various evidence-based intervention strategies that can vehemently reduce falls or totally mitigate falls among the elderly. The prevention strategies are both facility-centered and patient-centered. Some of the proposed fall prevention techniques include environmental planning, movement alarms, hip protectors, hazard removal (Nitz, et al., 2012), education of the staff, constant monitoring, and identification of the fallers (MacLaurin & McConnell, 2011). 

  1. a.Environmental planning

Environmental planning entails all processes that are aimed at making key adjustments in the facilities, either within the medical institutions or healthcare homes where a large number of the elderly are located. It would be necessary for the responsible parties to make adjustments on the facilities that the elderly use while in the institutions. For instance, lowering of beds can reduce the impacts of falls and lower the chances of falling (Nitz, et al., 2012). Additionally, chairs that the elderly use should be adjusted and lowered to make them safer and reduce instances of falling. The patients should also be taught how to interact with their environments to avoid injuries

  1. b.Movement Alarms

The patients should be accessible to movement alarms so that the personnel in the medical facility can know of their whereabouts and respond faster whenever falls occur. Alarms tend to serve better in such facilities because they facilitate the process of patient monitoring within the facilities. However, all patients must be taught how to use these safety alarms. The staff should also be ready to respond to any alarm to save the patient from falls or fall injuries.

  1. c.Hip protectors

The use of hip protectors is a technique that is aimed at preventing injury during falls (Nitz, et al., 2012). The gadgets are designed and used by medical institutions to safeguard the welfare of their patients in case of falls. These protectors are comfortably placed at the hip area of the patients because it is the most likely to be affected body part when an individual falls. Therefore hip protectors are the most appropriate instruments of reducing the impact of falls on the elderly patients. Evidence shows that individuals who use hip protectors are likely to sustain minimal injuries whenever they fall. 

  1. d.Hazard Removal

Hazard removal is the process of removing all harmful chemical and biological medical materials from the site of elders. Most falls are occasionally pre-determined and untimed. Therefore, the patients are likely to fall anywhere. To prevent fall injury, it is advisable to remove all hazards from their vicinity because, getting in contact with some chemical hazards may lead to more harmful effects. Additionally, they should be told to keep away from the environments that are full of hazards.

As stated earlier, the fall prevention program should target both the medical staff and the patients. This education is important because it enables the staff to work on the basic elements of fall prevention and minimization of injuries (MacLaurin & McConnell, 2011). Therefore, nurses and other medical staff should be trained on how to respond quickly to such instances. They should be in the position of knowing when and where a fall has occurred. They should also know how to deal with instances of falls especially the processes of providing first aid and offering the necessary help to make the patient comfortable.

  1. e.Constant Monitoring

Constant monitoring is an evidence-based fall prevention and impact reduction technique that is applicable in the medical facilities. The staff within the facilities should make plans in such a way that they constantly inspect their patients to determine their condition (MacLaurin & McConnell, 2011). Surveillance will be significant in most facilities. It is even a noble idea to use technology such as computer-linked close circuit cameras to monitor the patients. Constant monitoring ensures that the patients are in the right position whether on bed or in their chairs.

  1. g.Identification of the Fallers

Identification of fallers is another significant intervention technique that can reduce the number of falls to a greater extent. Through monitoring, it is easier to identify the fallers and note them for future use. Once fallers are identified, the whole process of taking care of them becomes easier. For instance, one an individual has been identified as a faller, the staff will find solutions that are specific to the problem of that person (Nitz, et al., 2012). Through the process, the caretakers will also determine the cause of such falls and keep them in control. The most advantageous element of identifying the fallers is that it enhances monitoring and keeping in close contact with such people. Ultimately, it results into reduced falls or no falls at all, if monitoring and environment adjustment are considered.

Conclusion

Research shows that falls are experienced daily in medical or homecare facilities. A large number of people fall as a result of their medical conditions or as a result of the environmental structure within which they are located. Falls cause problems to both the patient and medical care institutions. For instance, they can cause injury that may lead to morbidity or death. Additionally, falls are contributing to high medical expenses as compared to the other forms of accidents. Therefore, it is important to prevent falls for the reasons stated above. Some of the prevention techniques include the use of movement alarms, hip protectors, hazard removal, educating the staff, constant monitoring, and identification of the fallers. Implementation of these prevention techniques can reduce the instances of falls by a higher percentage. 

References

Clinical Excellence Commission. Falls Prevention. Retrieved April 1, 2014 from

            http://www.cec.health.nsw.gov.au/programs/falls-prevention

Jennifer Nitz,J. Cyarto, E., Andrews, S., Fearn, M., Fu, S., Haines, T., Haralambous, K., Hill,

            K., Hunt, S., Lea, E., Moore, K., Renehan, E. & Robinson, A. (2012). Outcomes fromthe implementation of a facility-specific evidence-based falls prevention intervention program in residential aged care. Geriatric Nursing, 33 (1): 41-50.

MacLaurin, A. & McConnell, H. (2011). Utilizing quality improvement methods to prevent

            falls and injury from falls: Enhancing resident safety in long-term care. Journal of

Safety Research 42: 525–535

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