Falls prevention in hospital

People recovering from illness often go through a period of increased risk of falling as they regain mobility. Inevitably, this may result in some accidental falls.

Bedfordshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust takes patient falls very seriously and during your stay in hospital everything practical will be done to reduce this risk.

Do ask for help and assistance if you need it. Don’t be worried, we are here to help you.

Factors of falls

Please pay particular attention to the following factors. They may help to prevent falling whilst in hospital:

  • Use the call bell if you need assistance to move, or feel unsteady.
  • Take your time when moving, sit upright for a few moments at the edge of your bed or chair to get your balance before standing up
  • If your bed or chair is too high or low for you to use safely please ask for assistance
  • If you feel anxious or nervous when using the bathroom or toilet, please ask for assistance
  • If you use a walking aid make sure it is close at hand. The therapy staff can advise you if you are unsure about use of walking aids.
  • Please wear shoes or slippers when up and mobilising. Do make sure they have non-slip soles, which support your feet and fit well. The ward staff can advise you as needed.
  • Make sure your clothing is not too long as it may cause you to trip.
  • If you wear glasses or hearing aids make sure they are clean and worn as prescribed.
  • Do switch the lights on if you need help to find your way.
  • Do be aware of equipment that may be in your way and don’t attempt to use hospital furniture to help you walk as most are on wheels and may move unexpectedly!
  • Please report any wet floors to a member of staff immediately.
  • Ask your visitors to make sure everything you need is within reach when they leave.


Also tell them if you:

  • Feel dizzy, especially when you stand up
  • Have pain or difficulty passing urine
  • Have palpitations
  • Feel muddled or not your normal self

The bathroom is a high risk area for falls

  • Please use the handrail for support
  • Please notify a member of staff if you notice the floor is wet
  • Use your walking aid to steady yourself
  • If you feel dizzy or unwell, please pull the red cord for assistance

Measures to reduce the risk of falls

If the ward staff assess you to be at risk of falls there are a number of interventions that can help to reduce the risks including: medication review, sensor alarms, low height beds and closer observation areas.

Staff will discuss with you and your relatives what may be helpful.

Use of Bedrails

Bedrails may be used to reduce the risk of patients rolling, slipping, or falling out of bed. They should NOT be used to stop patients getting out of bed.

There are risks and benefits to using bedrails, e.g. if patients are drowsy or used to sleeping in a double bed use of rails will reduce risk of rolling out. However if patients are muddled or confused they may attempt to climb over the rails and injure themselves.

If patients are well enough, they can decide for themselves if they want to use the bedrails. If they are too ill to make the decision then ward staff will assess the risks around use and discuss with relatives and carers whenever possible.

Please remember

All measures that are taken are designed to reduce the risk of falling whilst in hospital. However we cannot restrain patients or deprive them of their liberty and we will always adhere to patients’ wishes, or act in their best interests if they are unable to express their wishes.

Some patients will still fall even if we have put in all appropriate measures, however, by working in partnership with patients, their relatives and carers we aim to minimise the risk.

If you or your relatives would like further information, please talk to a member of staff.