Chapter 2: Causes of Bed-Related Falls
- Bed falls occur most often in patients with limited mobility and lower extremity dysfunction (e.g., muscle weakness, arthritis, sensory loss, etc.), cognitive disorders (e.g., depression, delirium, dementia, etc.), behavioral disturbances (e.g. agitation, disorientation, etc.), acute illness and taking medications (e.g., diuretics and sedatives), which affect the ability to maintain a safe level of transfer activity.
- Environmental factors that may contribute to risk of bed falls include elevated bed heights, overly soft mattresses (resulting in poor sitting balance) and slippery floor surfaces (resulting in unstable foot placements during transfers).
Lastly, there are several situational factors that may increase the risk of bed falls. For example:
- The onset of bladder dysfunction (e.g., frequency, incontinence, nocturia) may lead to frequent attempts to leave the bed and fall risk.
Recently admitted patients are at unusually high risk for bed falls. Reasons for this include:
- Treatment of acute illness and, as a consequence, rapidly changing functional capabilities.
- Exposure to new environmental surroundings (i.e., beds of varying height and width, equipped with wheels and side rails) that patients may not be accustomed to.
- Not knowing how to call for staff assistance with bed transfers.