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What happens when a patient falls?

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

According to WHO estimates, falls is the second leading reason for unintentional injury deaths globally. About 684000 people die annually due to accidents caused by falls. The most vulnerable section is adults older than 60 years. As per the estimates of the Indian Journal for Public health, in the Indian scenario, about 14-53 per cent of patient falls are reported in critical care hospitals. A patient fall is the result of an unplanned and sudden fall of the patient to the floor. There is a huge possibility of fatal injuries during such an event. The fall could be from the bed or wheelchair or the stairs among others.

Kalyani amma was in her late 70s when she fell out of the hospital bed. Soon after the fall, she faced vision and speech difficulties and within two hours of the fall, she became unresponsive. Though she was immediately taken for surgery after the CT scan revealed an intracranial hematoma, doctors could not save her. We realized falls among elderly adults are prevalent and the issues associated with patient fall has to be discussed at length.

What are the causes of falls?

  • Among older adults, the most common causes are muscle weaknesses and gait problems. About 62 per cent of patients above 80 years are reported to have gait problems.

  • Falls could be due to environmental hazards, equipment failures.

  • Poorly equipped wheelchairs and beds, improper walking aids, poor lighting and wet floors may contribute to the causes of patient falls.

  • Some medications and sedatives that affect the central nervous system remain a cause for falls in patients.

What are the measures to prevent patient falls?

  • Systematic assessment and monitoring of the elderly population and accompanying them while walking, walking aids and wheelchairs minimise the risk of falls.

  • Review and scrutinise the effect of medication and sedatives that affect motion and cognition in patients.

  • Patients who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases, Alzheimer's, dementia has to be monitored closely. There is the possibility that they forget about their immobility and move around, this makes them highly vulnerable to falls.

Both patient and caretaker suffer due to patient fall. Patients suffer a disability, compromised health quality, huge hospital charges and more, on the other hand, caretakers’ workload increases. Hospitals may face litigations for ignorance of safety protocols.

How Cureous Labs try to resolve the issue?

Our product, Sensepod adopts a multifaceted approach to fall prevention. It is programmed in such a way that it evaluates the fall risks by monitoring the patient's movements and alerts the caretaker when gauging a danger. Sensepod is a sensing layer that prevents fall through position detection and alerts the caretakers.

Adopting a wrong remedy or negligence could exacerbate an ailment, whereas prevention provides a certainty that one has ruled out the possibility of worst outcomes. Prevention is better than cure is a well-understood adage!

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