Preventing Falls

Because there are so many factors beyond age, gender, and the number of falls previously experienced that can contribute to a person falling, every patient at Stony Brook University Hospital (SBUH) is assumed be at risk for a fall from the moment he or she is admitted to the moment he or she is discharged. 

Upon a patient’s admission to SBUH, we conduct a Falls Risk Assessment using a standardized scale called the Morse Fall Risk Model®. Based on over 20 years of research and national and international use, the Morse scale helps us identify risk factors and consider their root causes. 

But we don’t stop there. We also conduct a safety study of each patient’s room. Is the positioning of the bed low enough? Is the call bell within reach? Is there clutter in the room? Is the floor clean? Are the patient’s shoes appropriate? Is there a nightlight? 

When a patient’s score for being at risk for falling is high, the patient is assigned a room close to the nursing station and a yellow arm band, bed sticker, and door sticker are prominently displayed to alert caregivers, family, and other visitors that the patient is at risk for falls. Once these alerts are in place, we monitor our patients who are at-risk 24/7. If we find something in the patient’s room that poses a potential risk, we correct it immediately, and then check for the same potential issue with our other patients who are at-risk for falls. By doing so, we help to ensure everyone’s safety at all times.