Falls Prevention

The Hawkesbury and District General Hospital (HGH) is committed to providing a safe environment to all patients and visitors. We have implemented fall risk reduction strategies in both inpatient care and ambulatory care areas.

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Falls prevention for inpatients

We take universal precautions for fall prevention in all care units. For example, we assess patients for mobility issues and use a personalized approach to falls risk interventions. We help patients familiarize themselves with their environment and we keep patient areas free of clutter.

Your illness, surgery or medication can make you more likely to fall. Please inform the nursing staff if you had a fall in the past three months as you could be at risk of falling again.

Take these precautions to avoid falls.

  • Use the equipment at your disposal: side rails of your bed, grab bars in the bathroom and handrails in the hallways.
  • Keep your call button, eyeglasses, telephone and other personal items within easy reach.
  • Ask the nursing staff if you need help with tasks such as getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom or moving around.
  • If you are asked not to get out of bed without help, please wait for assistance.
  • If you feel dizzy, notify the nursing staff.
  • Rubber-soled slippers are best. Avoid bathrobes or pants that drag on the floor.
  • Your bed should be low enough for your feet to touch the floor when getting up. If not, ask the nursing staff to adjust the height.
  • Bring your cane, walker or wheelchair, if necessary, and use them at all times.
  • If you use a wheelchair, make sure the brakes are on before sitting down.
  • Notify the nursing staff if you see puddles on the floor.

Falls prevention in Ambulatory Care

Do you have mobility issues? If so, please bring your mobility device to your appointment and ask someone to accompany you.

  • Wheelchairs are available at the main entrance and the Emergency entrance. Ask for assistance if you have mobility issues. Our staff and volunteers will help you.
  • We encourage you to fill out the self-assessment in the section below if you feel that you are at risk for falls.
  • We can provide you with a tip sheet and other information on fall prevention.

Staying independent

Homme et femme dans la soixantaine font du vélo en plein air

Did you know that falls are the main reason why older people lose their independence? Are you at risk?

Falls assessment tool

Take the self-assessment below. Add the score for each statement you answer “yes” to. If your total is 4 or more, you may be at risk of falling. Discuss the result of the assessment with your physician or healthcare professional.

Statement Score Why it matters
I have fallen in the last 6 months. 2 People who have fallen once are likely to fall again.
I use or have been advised to use a cane or walker to get around safely. 2 People who have been advised to use a cane or walker may already be more likely to fall.
Sometimes I feel unsteady when I am walking. 1 Unsteadiness or needing support while walking are signs of poor balance.
I steady myself by holding onto furniture when walking at home. 1 This is also a sign of poor balance.
I am worried about falling. 1 People who are worried about falling are more likely to fall.
I need to push with my hands to stand up from a chair. 1 This is a sign of weak leg muscles, a major reason for falling.
I have some trouble stepping up onto a curb. 1 This is also a sign of weak leg muscles.
I often have to rush to the toilet. 1 Rushing to the bathroom, especially at night, increases your chance of falling.
I have lost some feeling in my feet. 1 Numbness in your feet can cause stumbles and lead to falls.
I take medicine that sometimes makes me feel light-headed or more tired than usual. 1 Side effects from medicine can sometimes increase your chance of falling.
I often feel sad or depressed. 1 Symptoms of depression, such as not feeling well or feeling slowed down, are linked to falls.


Patient resources

Follow the links for more information on falls prevention.