Once you’ve completed your CNA training, you should be knowledgeable on ways to avoid patient falls. With the injuries that can occur with a fall, avoiding them is vital. If you are following the procedures you’ve learned, there’s no doubt that you use a belt to help position heavier patients, you make sure the floors are clean, dry and free from debris, you avoid clutter in patient’s rooms, and you are always available to assist your patients who have mobility problems. Even with all of these precautions, you may find that falls do happen, and you need to know what to do when they occur.
What Did Your CNA Training Teach You About Patient Falls?
As a CNA, you are a constant part of a patient’s care plan. The majority of your time is spent with the patient, caring for his or her daily needs. For this reason, it is likely that you will either directly witness a patient fall or be the first medical professional on the scene after one occurs. There are several steps that you should have learned during your CNA training that will ensure your patient’s safety:
- Call for Help – The first step is to alert the charge nurse. They have more training and will be able to help you assess the patient’s needs. If the nurse states that he or she is not available to help, find another person in charge or tell the nurse that you will stay with the patient until he or she is able to come.
- Do not move the patient – This is very important. Even the most simple falls can cause result in hidden injuries, especially in older patients. Moving a patient might make these injuries worse, and will cause the patient additional pain.
- Assist the nurse – Stay with the nurse and assist in whatever way is needed. The nurse will most likely do a neurological assessment, especially if no one witnessed the fall. You can help identify some signs of head injuries. The nurse will also check the rest of the patient’s body for signs of injuries. Provide the patient with as much privacy as possible during this kind of exam.
- After the exam – After the nurse has examined the patient, he or she will determine what action to take. You may need to help transfer the patient from the floor to the bed. The nurse will speak to the physician in charge, and the doctor will provide further instructions.
- Monitoring the patient – Although the patient may appear to be fine, the physician may request 24-48 hour monitoring . A doctor may ask you to check on the patient frequently to take vitals, see how the patient is feeling, and check for any unusual changes. Some of the changes that you may look for could include:
o Feeling overly tired
o Can’t be woken up
o Changes in respiration
o Unable to hold onto items
o Uneven pupil size
o Double vision
Legal Importance of Protocol Involving Patient Falls
If you don’t follow the procedures you learned during your CNA training and the protocol of your medical facility, you put your patient, your career, and even the facility you work for at risk.
Patient falls can be stressful and frightening. With the right CNA training you will be prepared for these emergencies when they occur.