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Article Review: Implementing a Paediatric Fall Prevention Policy and Program Essay Sample

Research summary

The article by Elizabeth Murray, Joy Vess and Barbara Edlund focuses on research regarding paediatric fall prevention models. The authors research on prevention programs and the appropriate programs to reduce the cases of paediatric falls in healthcare units. The strategy the authors focus is the role of staff awareness and how it can prevent fall rates in paediatric healthcare units.

Background of the study

Children are more likely to fall in healthcare centres during their developmental stages. However, those affected by neurological and physical disorders are more vulnerable to falls. Children are still in the stage where they are yet to master full mobility in different ways. Although children are constantly involved in accidents in and out of the hospital, children in hospitals can have their developmental stage compromised, therefore, making them more vulnerable to falls.

The authors argue that children in hospitals are at increased risks of falls due to illness related disorientation and being at a new environment. Nurses have the responsibility to take care of patients and are the ones who should report falls. If there is a possibility of underreporting in paediatric hospitals, there would be a serious concern for safety since children in their developmental age are vulnerable to falls, which can cause injury. The authors, therefore, argue that healthcare professionals should create a model that would monitor and prevent falls.

There are several scales used in assessment tools for patient falls in hospitals. However, the study focuses on the Humpty Dumpty Scale to create awareness among the healthcare providers. The research seeks to answer the question:  Can staff awareness lead to the mitigation of falls in paediatric hospitals?

Methods of the study

Setting and the Sample

The study was carried out in a paediatric intensive care unit that was staffed with qualified and registered nurses. The participants included patients between birth and 18 years of age. It included both the normal paediatric patients and paediatric patients at the intensive care unit.

The Project Design

The project comprised of components that were beneficial in assessing the issue of falls within hospitals. One of them was the data on fall risk at the site of the project. There was no paediatric-specific fall prevention policy and there was a 3.16 percent per 1000 fall risk. The project coordinator, therefore, crafted a policy on the risk assessment program for paediatric intensive care unit fall. The policy had details on the scope, the purpose, procedure, definitions, documentation and prevention. It was handed over to the Women’s and Children’s Practice Council, and the Paediatrics Physicians Advisory Council. Finally, it was presented to the facility’s chief nursing officer.

After the presentation of the project, the first step was to educate the registered nurses on the Humpty Dumpty Scale and the required fall interventions. The nurses were provided with a diagram to familiarize them with the necessary steps of the fall prevention program. Each patient was assessed and their fall risk recorded as either high or low. Once their risk level was determined, the nurses were required to execute the right procedure to prevent the patient from falling. The interventions included patient and family education, and indicating the fall risk of the patient on the chart. The protocol also involved environmental safety, hourly rounds of checking on patients and ensuring that the high risk of fall data was integrated to the patient’s’ healthcare plan.

The data collected during the study comprised of the number of reported falls to the risk manager at the fall rate of per 1000 patients for six months in 2015. The time frame reported by the nurses in the study was between January and June 2016. The data included the number of falls and the rate of fall per 1000 patient days.

Results

After the implementation of the program, there were no falls that were recorded between the January and June of 2016. Thus, in this case, the fall rate was recorded at 0 percent per 1000 patients. It was a significant improvement compared to a 4.5 percent per 1000 days recorded between January and June of the previous year. The staff’s cooperation in the study was instrumental in its success. However, there were limitations to the study. Firstly, the program proposed by the project coordinator was not implemented across the whole hospital. That is, it was not implemented across all the areas that provided paediatric healthcare. Secondly, the project was conducted in a very small area.

Importance of the study

Paediatric nurses play an important role in preventing inpatient paediatric patients falls in hospitals. The implementation of fall prevention strategies would significantly help in the reduction of the rates of falls. The programs can offer the necessary tools to thwart patient falls. The study shows that one of the most important things in the implementation of the program is that there should be cooperation among the staff. Staff members need to dedicate themselves fully to ensure they understand the risk of each patient.

It is evident from the research that a fall prevention program can efficiently show the vulnerabilities of each patient and their risk of falling. Such information can significantly mitigate the cases of falls, which consequently leads to improved safety conditions for the patients. It is also important to constantly educate the staff on the particulars of the programs. Constant education of the program will ensure the staff is always engaged in the program. Finally, good prevention programs can improve the patient and nurse relationship as well as the relationship between nurses and families.

Ethical issues

The study upheld the rules of the hospital and followed the right protocol to get the study approved. Additionally, in the process of conducting the study, it was ensured that patients were well treated since there were no cases of reported falls.

Conclusion

It was evident that falls can be mitigated by aggressively educating the hospital staff. Since the implementation of the study, there were not falls reported since there was better assessment of the risk of the patients. Additionally, it was evident that cooperation and coordination were fundamental in ensuring that patients were well monitored.

References

Murray, E., Vess, J., & Edlund, B. (2016). Implementing A Pediatric Fall Prevention. Pediatric Nursing, 42(5), 256-261.

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Hanna has won numerous writing awards. She specializes in academic writing, copywriting, business plans and resumes. After graduating from the Comosun College's journalism program, she went on to work at community newspapers throughout Atlantic Canada, before embarking on her freelancing journey.
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