Prevention of patient falls in hospitals in the Czech Republic.

THEORY: The prevention of patient falls is one of the safety goals set forth by the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.

GOAL: A sociological survey was carried out to (1) determine to what extent nurses identify the risk of patient falls at admission, (2) if the risk is reassessed and at what intervals, (3) what preventive measures were taken, and (4) in what way are patient falls reported.

METHODOLOGY: A representative sample consisting of general nurses working shifts on inpatient wards at hospitals in the Czech Republic was surveyed. Altogether 772 nurses took part in the study.

RESULTS: The survey showed that at admission, most nurses assessed the risk of falls (91.6%). Nonetheless, it should stand as a stark warning that nearly one fifth of the respondents (16.2%) did not reassess the risk of falls after admission! On the other hand, it can be perceived as a positive that most nurses (70.1%) use a multifaceted program of preventive measures for at risk patients and immediately reported fall events to the doctor in charge (71.4%). During statistical testing, the predication that a working atmosphere supporting a culture of patient safety would significantly decrease the probability of patient falls and increases the willingness of nurses to use preventive programs in daily practice.

CONCLUSION: Results from the survey showed that a system to minimalize fall risks has been successfully introduced into the hospitals of the Czech Republic. The system is based on the recommendations of the Ministry of Health of the Czech Republic.

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