For Healthcare Professionals
Connecting the Dots: How a Hands-Free Support System can Reduce Liability By Preventing Falls and Avoiding Missed Warning Signs for Other Patients
By Steven White, J.D., MBA and Wanda Neal, R.N.
Fall injuries in healthcare facilities and senior living communities are a major source of patient/resident disability, leading to fractures and other co-morbidities up to and including death. Delayed call light response times by nursing staff and failure to complete hourly nursing rounds have both been specifically correlated with preventable falls. Staffing shortages leading to increased nurse-patient ratios and budget cuts are increasingly important factors. Another significant factor, as suggested in this article, is the time-consuming needs of patients who are unable to hold drinks or eat independently. Spills can require clothing and bedding changes, floor cleanups and additional care. A low-cost hands-free support system to “take the hands out of the equation” for disabled patients and residents helps to provide much needed hydration. It has the added benefit of keeping them entertained and occupied by safely holding electronic devices that can significantly reduce these events as well as improve their overall health and quality of life. Additionally, simple but incredibly useful tools such as these can lead to a reduction in medical malpractice claims, negligence and hospital acquired conditions when preventable falls can occur in multiple areas of the healthcare system. Further research is suggested.
Assistive Technology, Adaptive Equipment, Call lights, Nursing Rounds, Patient Nurse ratios, Falls, Spills, Hydration, Liability, Medical Malpractice, Negligence, and Recklessness.