What is the Best Fall Prevention Education for Nurses?

Nurse tending to elderly patient in hospital bed
Nurse tending to elderly patient in hospital bed

Fall prevention is a hot topic for nurses in all fields and specialties. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have classified falls resulting in injuries or death as events that should never occur in the health care setting, or “never events” While this is not a new decision and facilities have been aware of it for years, there is always room for improvement. Quality improvement is a focus for nurses pursuing their Master of Science in Nursing. It is a nurse’s duty to protect their patients from preventable harm. There is plenty of research on the subject of fall prevention in hospitals, and one method in particular has proven to be especially effective.

Intentional Rounding: What is it?

Hourly rounding is a best friend to both nurse and patient. It’s a patient satisfaction and fall prevention program that goes by several other names, including intentional rounding and structured nursing rounds. All terms generally refer to the practice of checking in on patients on a regular, predictable basis to ensure that their needs are met. Nurses, or another staff member, visit each patient to check if there’s anything they need, such as pain medication, meals or a trip to the bathroom. It is an acceptable practice to delegate every other rounding hour to nursing assistants. Nursing assistants also benefit from this practice as it helps anticipate and cluster care.

The value of hourly rounding for fall prevention is well documented. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Nursing reported that a neuroscience ward that implemented hourly rounding had 50 percent fewer patient falls. The benefits of active fall prevention through frequent rounds are worth taking the time to explain to your patients. Some units may consider creating a fall prevention handout to help remind patients that they will be checked on often and to look out for their own safety.

Many falls take place because patients’ needs are not being met, especially toileting needs. Most people highly value their independence and think little of getting out of their chair or bed to use the bathroom or retrieve out of reach belongings. If they are weak, unsteady on their feet or their mental status isn’t normal, simple actions such as these place them at risk for falls.

Benefits of Frequent Rounds

With hourly rounding, patients’ needs are being anticipated before they arise, meaning that they are able to receive assistance walking to the bathroom before the need becomes urgent and they can’t wait. Fall prevention in the elderly is especially important. Patients who are confused or suffering from dementia benefit greatly from frequent, intentional rounds. It can be difficult for these patients to identify and express their needs. Regular assessment of their needs helps prevent falls by minimizing their discomfort. If their pain is under control, their possessions are in reach and their toileting needs have been met, they are less likely to attempt getting up without assistance.

Boost Your Nursing Practice With Higher Education

Health care and nursing are constantly evolving to adapt to the needs of the population, such as elderly fall prevention in an aging population. Evidence-based care and interventions such as intentional rounding are a cornerstone of safe, effective care. Spring Arbor University values an academic-minded approach to nursing care. Our online MSN programs are designed to cultivate compassion, curiosity and an analytic mind in nurses.

Nurses with a desire to grow and expand their practice can enjoy the flexibility of SAU’s online MSN programs. They are designed for working nurses, and most coursework is online. Courses may be taken one at a time for maximum flexibility, allowing you to pursue your dream of higher education without sacrificing your nursing experience or time with family and friends. Your personal student success coach helps guide you along the entire way, from enrollment to graduation with your Masters degree.