Preventing Falls in the Hospital

Our Partners in Care: Preventing Falls While in the Hospital

The staff members at Virginia Mason are working to provide you with a safe hospital stay. But as a patient, your risk for falling is increased due to certain medications, an unfamiliar environment and general weakness. 

Use these tips to help prevent falls while in the hospital:

  • Use the call light when you need help
  • Wear your hearing aids and/or eyeglasses when you are awake
  • Wear non-skid footwear when you are up
  • Use walkers and canes to provide support. Do not lean on IV poles, bedside tables or other items with wheels to steady yourself.
  • If you are unsteady on your feet, ask a staff member to assist you to and from the restroom.
  • Some medicines may cause you to feel sleepy or dizzy. Take your time and sit at the edge of the bed before you get up. Call for help if needed.
  • If you need to use the restroom often, ask for help when you need to get up. Use a bedside commode or urinal if necessary.
  • Remember, you may have lines or tubes connected to you, so ask for help when you are trying to get up.

During your hospital stay, expect Virginia Mason staff members to use evidence-based methods to ensure your safety.

  • Assessment — Staff members will do an assessment to determine if you are at risk for falls.
  • Visual Cues — If you are identified as a risk for falling, staff members will place a yellow falling star sign at your doorway, as well as give you a yellow arm band and yellow non-skid socks for your feet. These visual cues will be used to let other staff members know that you may need additional help when getting around.
  • Agreement — If a staff member thinks you may lose your balance, they will ask you to use the call light for help when getting up from bed, your chair or using the restroom.
  • Safe Environment — Staff members will check on you routinely. Virginia Mason has implemented "purposeful hourly rounding" checks to enhance your comfort level, offer toileting, ensure your room is free of clutter and that needed items are within reach. These checks have proven to be effective in preventing falls.

Learn how family and friends can help with falls prevention:

  • Remind your loved one to call a staff member for help
  • Before leaving, notify the nurse if the patient is weak, lightheaded or confused
  • Ensure the call light, phone and all personal belongings are within reach of the patient
  • Help to keep the patient's room free of clutter
  • Participate in the review and completion of the "Help Us Prevent Falls in the Hospital" brochure
  • Speak with the nursing staff about your safety concerns