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Fall Prevention

Patients, who have undergone surgery or who are taking pain medications, may find it difficult to stand, walk or maintain their balance. They also may lose strength or flexibility after being sedentary, or experience changes in cognition and memory, vision and hearing, making them more prone to falls.

Moreover, if a patient has a history of falls before entering the hospital, he or she is at an increased risk of falling while in the hospital.

Preventing patients from falling while in the hospital is a priority at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital. Our falls prevention program is designed to carefully monitor patients at risk for falls and involves everyone on the health care team.

What does UCSF do to prevent falls?

Nurses at UCSF screen patients for risk of falls when admitted, and then twice daily during their hospital stay. If a patient is considered at risk for falls, special measures are taken. These prevention measures include placing patients on special beds with bed alarms, hanging signs that alert caregivers that the patient is at increased risk for falls, and educating patients to use their call lights to ask for assistance when getting out of bed to go to the toilet.

Patients and families are educated about the importance of asking health care providers for assistance when getting out of bed or moving from a chair or bathroom to return to bed. Fall prevention is a team effort. Patients and family members play a key role in preventing falls.

How do we measure fall rates?

Fall rates are calculated as the number of falls per 1,000 patient days. UCSF submits falls data to the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes and to the National Database for Nursing Quality Outcomes to determine how we compare against other hospitals in California and the nation.

The number of falls among adult patients at UCSF Medical Center has been reduced by 46 percent during the six-year period from 2008 to 2013.

Our ultimate goal is to have no patients fall while under our care.

Chart for fall prevention


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If you have any questions or comments about our performance, contact Quality Improvement:

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For help finding a doctor or other assistance, contact our Referral Service at (888) 689-UCSF or (888) 689-8273.

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