New Guidelines to reduce the number of falls in our Hospitals

12 June 2013

Worthingtons Solicitors advise on the new guidelines issued by the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence, aimed to prevent patients falling while in hospital.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has called on the NHS to do more to prevent patients falling while in hospital.

It has been reported that up to 200,000 patients each year slip or trip while in hospital, thereby resulting in treatment and in some cases personal injury claims which cost the NHS more than £2 billion each year.  The NICE has issued guidelines advising that a general approach is not appropriate as each patient has their own specific needs, and that hospital staff should weigh up the risk of each patient falling dependent on their individual needs and medical history.

The NICE has issued recommendations to the NHS to be particularly vigilant around elderly patients and those who have pre-existing health conditions that might affect their mobility such as sight problems and dementia.  Vulnerable patients are at risk of falling when completing even the most basic tasks and should be advised to rely on their bedside buzzer to seek assistance.  The medication a patient is taking may also cause dizziness or disorientation and this is a further factor that ought to be considered in creating a plan to reduce the likelihood of a patient falling while in hospital.

The guidelines are applicable as of 12 June 2013 however it is unlikely that this will result in a dramatic fall in the number of trips and slips in hospital, at least not initially.

While not all trips and slips occur as a result of negligence on the part of the Hospital, in some cases a patient may fall due to the failure on the part of the hospital staff to adequately weigh up the risks or take appropriate action to monitor or otherwise safeguard a patient.

If you or a family member have fallen while in Hospital and feel that the fall was due to negligence on the part of the hospital staff in failing to adequately assess the risks, Worthingtons Solicitors have an experienced team of litigators who specialise in Medical negligence and personal injury claims who will gladly provide advice on all aspects of these claims in Northern Ireland. Contact Claire McDaid at our Belfast office on (90434015), or Nikki McConnell in our Newtownards office (91811538) for advice and guidance on this process.

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