Hospitals are often viewed as places of healing, but they can also be a place where patients are at an increased risk of falls. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and non-fatal injuries among older adults in the United States. In addition to the physical and emotional toll that falls can take on patients, they also have a significant financial impact on hospitals. Fortunately, there are steps that hospital designers can take to help prevent falls and create a safer environment for patients.
One key aspect of hospital design that can help prevent falls is flooring. Non-slip flooring can help prevent slips and falls, especially in areas where water or other liquids may be present. Hospital designers should also consider the color and pattern of the flooring to help patients distinguish between different areas, such as hallways and patient rooms. Proper lighting is also important, as it can help patients see potential hazards and prevent falls. In addition, designers should consider the placement of grab bars and handrails throughout the hospital, especially in areas where patients may need extra support, such as in bathrooms and near beds.
Patient-centered design is another important aspect of hospital design that can help prevent falls. Patients are more likely to feel comfortable and safe in a hospital environment that is designed with their needs in mind. Hospital designers should involve patients and their families in the design process to ensure that their needs and concerns are addressed. This can include everything from the layout of patient rooms to the location of amenities such as restrooms and water fountains.
Finally, it is important for hospital designers to consider the specific needs of high-risk patient populations when designing their facilities. For example, elderly patients, patients with dementia, and patients with mobility impairments may require additional safety measures to prevent falls. Hospital designers can incorporate features such as low-glare lighting, non-skid flooring, and motion sensors into their design to help reduce falls among these populations.
Overall, hospital design can play a significant role in fall prevention. By taking into account both the physical environment and the needs and preferences of patients, hospitals can create a safer and more comfortable environment for patients.