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Falls in hospital may be more likely to happen than falls in the home, because the hospital environment is unfamiliar to your child and it may take some time for them to feel comfortable in their new surroundings. They may also be affected by medication. In addition, hospitalisation causes stress
and anxiety for many parents. Sometimes this can lead to distraction, which means that parents may overlook the safety precautions that they routinely take at home.
In the same way you keep your child safe at home, it is important to keep your child safe when they are in hospital. Half of the falls that occur in hospital happen when a parent is present, which is why parents and hospital staff should work together to prevent children from falling in
All children are at risk of falling in hospital; however, some children have a higher risk than others because of their medical diagnosis. Falls cannot always be prevented, but risk assessments can ensure extra safety measures are put in place for children at greater risk of falls.
Nursing staff will assess your child's risk of falling each day they are in hospital, as their condition may change from day to day. If your child is identified as being at a high risk of falling, your nurse will develop a management plan with you to ensure you are aware of the extra safety
Your child will be provided the most appropriate bed for their age while in hospital. Patients aged two years and under will be cared for in a cot, while children older than two years will be cared for in a bed with side rails.
There are many ways you can help prevent your child from falling in hospital.
If a fall does occur, whether patient or visitor, you should inform nursing staff immediately. They will make the area safe and attend to the person who has fallen. Patients will be checked by the ward doctor. Nursing staff will complete an incident form to report all falls. This report will help
to prevent future falls by identifying and removing the risks.
How can I prevent my child from falling when we leave
If your child is identified as being at a high risk of falls
at the time of discharge from hospital, a physiotherapist may see your
child to ensure they can get around safely.
Some children will require an occupational
therapy consultation to discuss how you can promote fall safety at home.
An occupational therapist may visit your home to support you in making
any changes that may be needed.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Nursing Services, in consultation with the Neuroscience, Rehabilitation, Surgery and General Medicine departments. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed August 2018.
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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.