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How to Reduce the Incidence of Patient Falls

Patient fall prevention is an important topic when it comes to hospital care. In addition, there are a lot of factors in a hospital setting that contribute to patient falls, such as slippery floors, the amount of time spent lying down, and possible side-effects of medication. It is important to reduce the incidence of patient falls because it is a safety issue. In the course of this study, it was discovered that the use of a call light system and improvements in the rounding protocol can significantly reduce the rate of patient falls.

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In the issue concerning “patient falls”, it was discovered that there is a greater incidence of this problem whenever patients’ needs are not addressed properly. The root cause of the problem can be traced back to the nurse’s “rounding protocol.” In a typical hospital, nurses are supposed to do their rounds visiting their patients based on a schedule created by the hospital administrator. The time spent on every patient as well as other activities regarding this activity are incorporated in a nurse’s rounding protocol (Carter, 2005). Changes must be made in the said rounding protocol as well. Aside from the need to ask the proper questions regarding patient’s needs, it is also important to incorporate the appropriate technology such as a call light system.

Technology is now an important part of modern healthcare system. In improving nurse’s rounding protocol, hospitals must use a call light system. In this device, there is a button that the patient can press in order to signal to the nurse on duty that he or she needs assistance. The call light system is an effective solution to reduce patient falls especially when it comes to the need for assistance when patients want to go to the bathroom (Meade, Bursell, & Ketelsen, 2006). The call light system is also an effective tool when it comes to alerting the nursing staff in case of emergency.

Researchers pointed out that a call light system is a device that can be used to effectively communicate a medical problem (Meade, Bursell, & Ketelsen, 2006). In other words, frequent use of the call light system can alert the staff that there is a problem that may require a closer examination of the patient. The repeated action signals a more serious medical issue.

Although a call light system is an important tool in a hospital, the misuse of this technology can increase the risk of burnout among the nursing staff. Consider, for instance, the workload of nurses, when after doing their rounds, they have to go back to see the patient and respond to the request made through the call light system. It is, therefore, important not only to incorporate this technology into the rounding protocol, but to create improvements in the way nurses interact with patients when they are doing their rounds.

Minor changes in the rounding protocol can reduce the need to use the call light system but increase the satisfaction of patients when it comes to addressing their immediate needs. An example of the proposed change is to create a detailed rounding protocol that nurses must learn by heart. They must run through this checklist every time they are inside the patient’s room. There are two things that hospital administrators must add to the rounding protocol. First of all, the nurse must move items closer to the patient so that he or she does not need to get up to take such things as the Kleenex, the TV remote, etc. that can make patients feel more comfortable.

The second most important addition to the rounding protocol is to ask the right questions before leaving. The nurse doing the rounds must ask the patient if there is anything else that he or she can do to make the patient more comfortable. Thus, if there is a need to assist the patient to go to the bathroom, the nurse will provide the required help in order not to come back a few minutes later to do the same task. The patients have to make the request known. As a result, there is a reduction in the use of the call light system. The nursing staff is not overburdened by repetitive work, but more importantly, the needs of the patients are met.

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It has been made clear that high incidence of patient falls can be traced back to the unmet needs of the patients, especially when it comes to their requests for assistance when they have to go to the bathroom. The same thing can be said when they have to get up from their beds to reach out an item that is beyond their reach. The proposed solution is to install a call light system so that patients have the ability to request assistance from the nursing staff. However, it was pointed out that the nursing staff is expected to do their rounds. The need to do the rounds and the frequent use of the call light system can easily contribute to lowering of the level of burnouts. It was suggested that improvements in the rounding protocol can prevent patient falls, and increase their satisfaction at the same time because the nursing staff can meet their needs due to the combined use of the call light system and enhancements in the nurse’s rounding protocol.


Carter, P. (2005). Lippincott’s textbook for nursing assistants: a humanistic approach to care giving. PA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Meade, C., Bursell, A., & Ketelsen, L. (2006). Effects of nursing rounds on patient’s call light use, satisfaction, and safety. American Journal of Nursing, 106(9), 58-70.

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