Patient Fall Prevention Agreement

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Discussion/Implications A robust fall prevention standard does not guarantee the involvement of the healthcare team in all elements to reduce the occurrence of falls. In the past, the agreement on the risks of falling and prevention had not been initiated at the time of admission. Involving patients and families in discussions about fall risk and prevention is consistent with collaborative communication. In 2002, the Joint Commission and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services encouraged patients and families to participate in acute care to promote safety. In many cases, the medical oncology patient is identified as a “moderate” risk of falling upon admission. During treatment and for an extended period of time, deconditioning and adverse effects of treatment cause a fall. This patient population often overestimates their abilities and functional status. Preventing and reducing falls and injuries caused by patient falls is an important health goal.1 Patients hospitalized and treated for cancer are often at higher risk of falls due to factors such as age, diagnosis, treatment side effects, pharmacological side effects, and cognitive and/or motor deficits. Registered nurses (RNs) should assess, plan, intervene and evaluate evidence-based patient care. However, patients and families should be included in the treatment plan, including safety measures. The objective of this quality improvement project was to determine whether involving patients and families in a partnership agreement as part of a large-scope inpatient fall prevention program would reduce falls and falls with injuries in a hospital medical oncology unit.

A medical oncology unit was targeted for this initiative due to a longer length of stay. Due to a longer length of stay, medical oncology patients may experience functional degradation and, in many situations, suffer a fall. These patients are often unaware of these functional limitations and suffer a fall. Hospitalized patients with cancer, regardless of age, have frequent injuries after a fall….

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