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Preventing Falls: In the Hospital

Healthcare provider caring for man in intensive care unit bed.
Make sure you know how to call for help while in the hospital.

At some point, you or your loved one may need care in a hospital or other facility. People may ask how well you can move around. Answer this question honestly. If you have a high risk of falling, the staff will take extra steps to help keep you safe. Remember, always ask for help when you need it. Here are some safety tips.

Keep things in reach

  • Keep the things you use often in easy reach. This includes tissues, water, remote control, light cord, and call button.

  • With the nurse present, practice using the call button before you really need it. Keep it in reach. And don't be afraid to use it when you need to!

  • Know how to turn the light on and off from your bed. Also, know how to use the bed control.

Get help to move around

  • Don't get up on your own, even to use the bathroom. Call someone for help.

  • Sit up slowly and with help.

  • When getting out of bed, sit on the side of the bed before standing. Stand slowly. Some medicines or conditions can make you dizzy when you change positions.

  • Wear nonskid, well-fitting footwear when walking.

  • Don't try to move IV poles or other equipment on your own.

  • Use your walking aid as instructed by the staff. Use handrails in bathrooms or in hallways.

  • The staff may use a gait belt to keep you safe as you move around. This fits snugly around your waist. It allows another person to support you as you walk together.

Tips for visitors and family

When someone is ill or in the hospital, falling is more likely. You can help your loved one reduce the risk:

  • Keep personal items in the same place. Stick with a routine.

  • Learn about the guidelines the staff has in place to prevent falls. Follow them.

  • Get guidance on using safety equipment and moving your loved one.

  • When directing your loved one, keep it simple. Go one step at a time.

  • Tell staff about any mental or physical changes you notice in your loved one.

© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.