Postpartum Safety: A Patient-Centered Approach to Fall Prevention

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Abstract

Falls in the perinatal setting have received minimal attention and have not been well documented. Women are at risk for falling following vaginal or cesarean birth, especially during initial attempts at ambulation. Recently, a women's hospital that averages over 500 births per month recorded a postpartum fall rate that exceeded the national mean for adult surgical patient falls. A fall prevention team (FPT) of five nurses was formed with a goal to decrease the incidence of postpartum patient falls to zero within the following 7 months. A patient-centered fall prevention strategy was developed. The results of this project have laid the foundation for additional research of a program that will consider not only prevention of falls in a healthy population but also the development of a risk assessment tool specific to women in the immediate postpartum period.

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