Preventing Falls

Why falls may happen in the hospital

  • Medicines you take may make you dizzy or drowsy
  • You may feel weak or unsteady on your feet as you recover from your anesthesia and surgery
  • You may feel dizzy, lightheaded, or weak if you have been unable to eat
  • Unfamiliar surroundings can cause you to be confused when you first wake up

Things that increase the risk of falling

  • A previous fall or recent history of a fall
  • Medicines for blood pressure, pain, heart disease, and medicines for sleep and depression
  • Physical disabilities (especially balance issues), lower body weakness, and visual/hearing problems
  • Incontinence or frequent need to use the bathroom
  • Environmental fall hazards: IV lines, IV poles, urinary catheters

What can I do?

  • Ask for help when you want to get up, ESPECIALLY the first time after your surgery. Your nurse will perform a “fall risk and bedside mobility” assessment once you arrive to the nursing unit. Be sure to be honest about how you move and what conditions you may have that could increase your risk of falls.
  • Change positions slowly. When getting out of bed, do not immediately go from lying down to standing up. Sit up on the side of the bed first. Be sure you don't feel dizzy or lightheaded before standing.
  • Bring non-skid, sturdy shoes with you to the hospital and wear them when walking around the unit, or wear the non-skid socks provided by the hospital.
  • Don't try to move IV poles or other equipment on your own.
  • Use a walker to keep you steady. Use the handrails in bathrooms and hallways.
  • Keep the things you use often within easy reach.
  • Be sure your call bell is at your side, within reach and that you know how to use it. Do not be afraid to call for help!