Fall Prevention among Geriatric Patients: Risk Management Program Analysis
Risks to patients, staff, and organizations are common in healthcare and can affect an organization’s performance and worsen patient health. A risk management program aids in identifying, assessing, and finding possible ways to reduce the risk. Therefore an organization should have trained health care risk managers to assess, develop, execute, and monitor risk management plans hence helps in reducing injuries or deaths that may result from falling. This paper discusses the fall prevention program among geriatric patients that enhances their safety through risk assessment, analysis, and development of recommendations.
Falls are a major threat to the aging population, which results in devastating consequences. Older adults, therefore, restrict their activities to avoid the risk of falling. As patients age, they tend to experience nerve problems, muscle weakness, chronic health conditions such as stroke vision impairment medical illness impaired activities of daily living, thinking problems decreased muscle strength this, therefore, increases their likelihood to fall. The reported injuries as a result of fall includes; limb fracture, head injuries, joint dislocation, lacerations and contusions this may result in hospitalization or lack of ability to engage in normal daily activity task and inability to care for oneself hence fall prevention is necessary. Additionally, fall may be caused by environmental factors such as; poor lighting, lack of grab bars inside and outside the shower, lack of stair railings and poorly designed public spaces (Di Giacomo-Geffers, 2016). Thus, health care institutions should respond appropriately in geriatric fall prevention while simultaneously meeting the diverse health care needs for all patients within their facility. In addition, they should ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations for safeguarding patient health and wellbeing.
The rationale for selecting a fall program is because it creates awareness and educates the nursing staff on the need of enhancing the safety of patients, assisting in the identification of patients who are at a higher risk of falls hence reducing deaths and injuries among the aging population. Patient’s safety not only minimizes the risks they could encounter while within the facility, but also ensures that institutional reputation is upheld and that proper compensation by payers, such as Medicaid and Medicare, is done optimally. Thus, to ensure zero to minimal falls among geriatric patients, the risk management program takes the following steps:
Step 1: Risk identification
Step 2: Risk analysis
Step 3: Risk evaluation
Step 4: Risk management
In the fall prevention risk management plan, the first step entails of identification of high-risk patients. For instance, using red non-skid socks helps to accomplish two objectives, first, deification of at high-risk patients, and prevention of falls. In as a result, this measure enables the health workers to offer additional fall prevention protocols to reduce the risk of falls, such as clearing the room of any barriers or materials that may facilitate falls among these patients. In this case the healthcare professionals and employees become aware of the risk in their environment this is so through retrospective screening of patients’ records, assessing executive committee reports, and healthcare-associated infections reports. Risk analysis involves understanding the risk identified in step one it includes assessing the level of risk, its causes, and the control measures and policies. The third step is risk evaluation which entails identifying which risk requires treatment this is based on the analysis score in step two. Finally, risk management follows whereby appropriate measures are put in place to ensure the occurrence of the risk.
An effective risk management procedure in healthcare organizations works towards achieving higher quality care. The Joint Commission (JC) is an accrediting body that ensures proper assessment and evaluation of all health care machines and equipment by qualified specialists to ensure they do not pose any danger to health practitioners and patients as well (Benacerraf, et, al, 2018). It also recommends actions to be taken and ensures an organization has implemented such actions. In this regards, compliance with these recommendations ensures that such machines do not increase the risk of patients’ falls, which is a desirable outcome.
The key agencies establish roles aimed at protecting the general population and ensure medical staffs adhere to high standards and receive compensation. It also regulates the provision of safe health care. One such agency is the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), which improves the safety, quality, and effectiveness of healthcare and encourages research that helps one to make informed decisions to improve the standards of the health care services. Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) continually improves the patients’ safety during anesthesia care by initiating and conducting patient programs and campaigns. Emergency Medicine Patient Safety Foundation (EMPSF) which ensures patient’s protection in the practice of emergency medicine through education, participation, and training, the Health Foundation which also improves the quality of healthcare in the UK, National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) ensures that the safety plan meets the required quality standards.
The risk management program conforms to the requirement of joint commission which ensures safety and provision of quality of care hence improving the organization’s performance. According to (Johnson et al., 2017) Joint Commission issues reports that integrate measures and strategies hence monitoring the performance of the quality measures. Joint commission plays a vital role in reducing falls and preventing injuries in the healthcare sector this is through; creating awareness on the need of preventing falls and injuries, developing an interdisciplinary falls injury prevention team, use of the standardized validated tool to identify risk factors for fall, developing an individualized plan of care based on identified fall and injury risk and developing post-fall management which entails of an honest transparent and reporting analysis of falls, use of alarm devices, ensuring patients have proper footwear and mobility aids since high heels and shoes with floppy soles may make you slip, stumble and fall, monitoring medication side effects and the appropriate adjustments of environment that promote safe patient movement by removing boxes and electronic cords from walkways, repair of loose wooden floorboard, immediately cleaning spilled liquids or food, and use of non-slip mats in the bathtub. Proper light conditions such as helps in reducing falls, one may also use assistive devices such as hand rails for both side of stairways or walker for stability. Use of technology is also an essential part of preventing falls since it enables the health practitioners to monitor their patients
The risk management program proposes various recommendations for the prevention of falls among geriatric patients. First, the institution needs to provide fall prevention training for both clinical and non-clinical staff. As Elliot and Leland (2018) elucidate, without proper training, some health practitioners may think geriatric falls are normal. Moreover, they should also be educated on the ways of reducing falls and a celebration of little success with every fall prevented (Willumsen et al., 2019). Besides, the public should be taught on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle that includes considering physical activities, such as walking and workouts, which are essential for building a healthy body stature and reducing the risk of falling by improving strength, balance coordination and flexibility. Additionally, the prevention program should increase the communication level among members in the interdisciplinary team, patients, and families regarding fall prevention in high-risk patients. The older patients should also be supplied with vitamin D supplements to strengthen their bones and prevent falls in their community.
A multicomponent program should be implemented in order to reduce the risk of fall the program should entail engagement of clinical staff in its design, use of information technology in provision of falls prevention data, identification of target audience such us health providers, physical therapist, emergency medical services providers who deliver emergency treatment after a fall
In conclusion, falling does not have to be part of aging since use of appropriate interventions aids in reduction of the risk of falls among older population enables them to gain independence and improved quality of life. A successful fall prevention program evaluates and modifies the programs based on the findings from evaluation hence without the prevention program evaluation, the intended purpose cannot be achieved and the same mistakes will be repeated resulting in increased death among the elderly. Moreover falls needs to be assessed and investigated since not every fall is a fall. The success of fall prevention program not only depends on the program itself but also on its effective implementation and adequate education on the target audience.
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