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Hospital Care Safety Precautions in the Patients Room

Learn the safety measures that you should consider in taking care of a patient or elderly in the hospital or at home.

Most falls and other injuries occur in the patient’s room (Cutchins 1991). Many of the precautions taken in other ar5eas of the hospital also pertain to safety in the patient’s room.

Lighting

Be sure that patient’s rooms have enough light to allow the ambulatory patient to see objects easily that may be in the way and to allow staff to work without difficulty. At night most patients who have slept in complete darkness at home are not disturbed by the use of a wall nightlight. This light helps to orient both the bedridden patient and the patient who is able to get out of bed to use the bathroom.

Floor Surfaces

Ensure that floors are smooth and in good repair. An unsteady patient is more likely to slip than an able-bodied visitor or staff member.

Provide nonslip mats or a bath towel for use on the floor of a shower or on the bottom of a bathtub to prevent slipping. It also is a good idea to have hand rails and a call cord within reach to ensure the safety of the patient.

Oxygen

If oxygen is in use, take special precautions to ensure that sparks and flames never occur in the vicinity. Oxygen, as a gas, does not itself explode, but it supports rapid combustion, and materials will burn at an explosive rate in its presence.

Post a “No Smoking” sign on the door of the room to remind the patient and visitors not to smoke. Keep in mind that electrical appliances, including electric razors, are not to be used when oxygen therapy is in use. These precautions are of utmost importance for safety.

Furniture

Be sure that all furniture in the patient’s room is arranged to allow easy access to the wash basin, bathroom, closet area, and door. This protects ambulatory patients and staff members from bumps or falls. Some beds may have a bedside stand that contains a console used for summoning the nurse and operating the television. This stand is attached in such a way that it swings out away from the bed. Although consoles are more convenient for the patient, remember that stretching toward a stand that is just out of reach has caused serious falls for many patients.

Medications and Dangerous Substances

Remove medications and dangerous substances from the bedside to prevent a visitor or someone for whom they were not intended from ingesting them. A physician may authorize medications to be kept at the bedside for the patient to self- administer. Check the policy of your facility regarding where these are to be stored. If a liquid used in treatment, such as a saline or hydrogen peroxide solution, is to be kept at the bedside, the container should be clearly marked.

Doors

Fully open or fully close entrance doors and bathroom, closet, and cabinet doors at all times to eliminate the possibility of people colliding with them. If door latches are not functioning properly, have them fixed or replaced.

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Comments (2)

Thoughtful article.

Paul Couch

Should a patient bathroom door locked from inside by patient have a way to be unlocked from outside in case of emergency to rescue patient?

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