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Minimising the risk of falls in hospital

Patient information A-Z

Advice for patients, relatives and friends

The aim of this leaflet is to provide you with advice on how the risk of falls in hospital can be minimised. Just like in general life, it is not possible to prevent all falls in hospital. However by putting in different measures and working together we can reduce the risk of falls happening.

Please make staff aware:

  • If you have had any falls in the last year and if you use anything at home to reduce the risks of falls – we may be able to use these measures in hospital
  • Please do not mobilise on your own if you feel you are unable to or have been advised not to – please use your call button for assistance.
  • Be familiar with your bedside environment. Ask for clutter to be moved if your path isn’t clear and report any spillages, trailing wires or cables.

What should I be aware of while on the ward:

  • You should keep everything you need in easy reach.
  • It is important to drink regularly and eat well
  • Use your usual walking aid, keep it close by and check for wear and tear on the rubber feet.
  • Never lean on hospital furniture as it’s often on wheels.
  • When getting up from lying or sitting, get up slowly making sure you feel steady before walking. If you feel dizzy please stop and sit down and let the nursing staff know.
  • We strongly discourage patients from having bedside curtains drawn at night as nursing staff need to be able to see patients easily.

What should I wear on the ward:

  • Wear nonslip, well fitting enclosed slippers or shoes. If you do not have these with you, a pair of anti-slip socks can be provided by nursing staff and these can also be worn at night if you wish
  • If you are required to wear anti embolic stocking you will be supplied with a pair of anti-slip socks to wear over these. Please wear the anti slip socks at all times as the anti-embolic stockings do not provide a grip on the ward floors.

What should I bring to the ward:

  • If you normally wear glasses or hearing aids please bring these with you
  • If you normally use a walking aid please bring this with you. if you have not brought this with you please inform your nurse looking after you
  • We encourage you to bring your own clothes in but make sure they aren’t too long or too loose as they could be a trip hazard

Advise for relatives or friends:

  • Please let nursing staff know if a patient has a history of falls or you are concerned they may fall.
  • Let nursing staff know if a patient has become confused/ not themselves.
  • Please take home any items that the patient does not need on the ward to reduce clutter.
  • Before you leave, please check that the patient has everything they need in reach and that the bed space is clear of obstacles.
  • Please let the nursing staff know when you are leaving if there are any measures or adjustments in place to minimise risks such as falls alarm, bedrails or height of bed so they can be put back in place

Please remember

All measures that are taken are designed to minimise the risk of falling whilst in hospital. However we cannot restrain patients or deprive them of their liberty, unless deprivation of liberty safeguards are in place. We will always adhere to patients’ wishes, or act in their best interests if they are unable to express their wishes. Some patients will still fall even if we have put all appropriate measures in place. However, by working together with patients, their relatives, and carers we aim to minimise the risk of falls.

Contacts / further information

If you have any questions or concerns regarding falls or would like any further information please ask the ward staff or contact the Lead Falls Prevention Specialist on 01223 274403.

Please use this space below to write and questions you may have.

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Privacy and dignity

Same sex bays and bathrooms are offered in all wards except critical care and theatre recovery areas where the use of high-tech equipment and/or specialist one to one care is required.

We are smoke-free

Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the hospital campus. For advice and support in quitting, contact your GP or the free NHS stop smoking helpline on 0800 169 0 169.

Other formats

Help accessing this information in other formats is available. To find out more about the services we provide, please visit our patient information help page (see link below) or telephone 01223 256998. www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/accessible-information/

Contact us

Cambridge University Hospitals
NHS Foundation Trust
Hills Road, Cambridge
CB2 0QQ

Telephone +44 (0)1223 245151
https://www.cuh.nhs.uk/contact-us/contact-enquiries/