Preventing Falls in the Hospital: Care Instructions

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When you're in the hospital, your risk of falling may be higher than normal. Medicines may make you dizzy. Or you may be weak from illness or surgery. Talk to your doctor or nurse about whether it's safe for you to get up on your own. Ask how to use new equipment, like crutches.

How can you prevent falls in the hospital?

  • Bring nonskid socks, slippers, or shoes that stay on your feet. If you don't have these, ask the nurse for a pair of nonskid socks.

  • Bring your walker or cane, if you use one at home. Or ask the hospital to provide one during your stay.

  • Ask for help getting up. Dizziness, weakness, some medicines, and surgery can all increase your risk of falling.

  • Get up slowly from a bed or chair. With your feet on the floor, wait for a bit to make sure you feel steady and not lightheaded. Then slowly stand up.

  • Put on your eyeglasses, if you wear them. Do this before you get up.

  • Call the nurse if you need help getting to the bathroom. Try to call before you have an urgent need to go.

  • Keep items close by. This may include your phone and the nurse call light or button. Ask for help if you can't reach something.

  • Before you get up, make sure your bed is low and the wheels are locked.

  • Be aware of medical equipment. Items such as a blood pressure cuff, tubing, or wires could cause you to trip and fall.

  • Make sure the path to the hall or bathroom is clear. Look for wet or slippery areas.

  • Make sure your room has good lighting. At night, make sure there is enough light to see your way to the bathroom. Call a nurse if you need light and can't reach the switch.

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The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.