Patient Safety in the home setting

Patient Safety in the home setting

As members of the healthcare community, we cannot overemphasize the importance of safety in the daily execution of our duties.  Ensuring the safety of the patient especially in the home setting can be quite challenging at times. Regardless of what limitations we may face as care providers, the need for safety is ever present. Falls prevention is a major safety precaution in the demographic that we serve. A bad fall can be life threatening or in some cases fatal. There are a number of ways to prevent falls and protect the vulnerable.  Our patients depend on us in more ways than one. That is not to suggest that all patients are totally dependent. There’s a mix of patients from totally dependent to independent. No matter what category they fall, it is the responsibility of the care provider to ensure safety in and around the home.  The question then becomes what the key safety measures should be…..

Below are some key tips to promote safety in the home setting:

  • Get rid of  throw rugs on the floor….these pose potential for tripping

  • If your patient is on sleep aid or diuretic medication, the path to the bathroom should be clutter/obstacle free and the diuretic should be given in the morning

  • Make sure your patient has no visual disturbances or impairment; if so provide proper assistance; Make sure the home is properly lit; if the patient is incontinent, try regular toileting to help establish a routine.

  • For patients who take any medication that can cause dizziness, weakness or confusion (including blood pressure lowering meds)…..monitor closely for falls

  • Caregivers should report to the appropriate individual(s) when they observe unsafe conditions in the patient’s home including need for assistive devices

  • Make sure that the patient’s clothing and shoes fit properly

  • Lock the wheels of the wheelchair before transfers

  • Safety measures also include fire prevention and knowledge about their medications

  • Preventing infections through proper hand washing is a safety measure and one of the 2014 safety goals for home care (The Joint Commission)

Safety precaution is a win-win for all!

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