Maintaining Patient Safety
When working in an acute care setting such as a hospital, safety is the number one priority. A safe environment greatly reduces the risk for illness or injury. It’s not only for the patient; it’s also for the healthcare provider. For a nurse, it begins when she/he meets the patient. She must assess the room and make sure there is no debris littered on the floor, that all IV tubing is untangled and not on the floor, and that the patient’s bed is down in the lowest position with both side rails up. One mistake that has been committed is having the patient’s bed in a high level in order to prevent back strain, but then remembering that they forgot the linens and leave the room with the patient basically “in the air”.
The problem with this is that is the patient is drowsy, or groggy, or is incapable of walking and ends up rolling and falling off. The patient could also be of a different height and assume their feet will touch the floor and instead end up falling off the side of the bed. This is why before you leave a room you must make sure to lower the bed back to its original position, low. Although the bed has four side rails you can only keep two up at a time unless ordered by a physician for the patient’s safety, otherwise it is considered false imprisonment.
In order to avoid this easily avoidable error we must remember to finish what we complete with the patient and then to lower the bed and make sure the side rails are raised. If by chance we forgot something outside of the patient’s room, stop and lower the bed, and when you return, raise it again. Without these cautionary details, a patient could fall and end up remaining hospitalized for an extended time.