How do low-height patient stretchers reduce the risk of inpatient falls?
Inpatient falls in hospitals; the problem
As the population continues to age, the number of inpatient falls in hospitals continues to grow. Falls are the most frequently reported incident affecting hospital inpatients, with almost 250,000 falls occurring in inpatient settings each year in England alone (NHS Improvement).
Cost of falls that occur in hospitals
An estimate by NICE in 2015 shows that falls that occur in hospitals cost the NHS around £575m every year, which means that the NHS spends more than £1.5 million each day as a result of inpatient falls. In 2015, an estimated 250,000 inpatients experienced a fall, costing trusts around £2,600 per patient2.
Related article: How Much Do Patient-Handling Related Injuries Cost The NHS?
What is a low-height patient stretcher?
A low-height patient stretcher is a hospital stretcher specifically designed with a mattress platform that descends to a particularly low height.
There is no set definition for how low a ‘low-height’ stretcher has to be, but currently, the lowest height stretchers in the UK are the Howard Wright M9 Stretcher, which has a minimum height of 350mm, and the MultiFlow Stretcher from Felgains, which has a lower minimum height of 340mm.
How do low-height stretchers reduce inpatient falls?
Low beds and stretchers like the MultiFlow are widely accepted tools to prevent falls and reduce the risk of fall-related injury effectively.
The ultra-low mattress platform height of the MultiFlow allows patients to get on and off the stretcher more easily, reducing the need for patients to climb or descend from a higher surface and decreasing the risk of falling during transfers.
Due to the shorter fall height, the impact force when someone falls is lower, reducing the risk of the patient actually injuring themselves as a result of falling. The below chart from Medstrom clearly shows the relationship between impact force and bed height:
With 40% of the acute patient population being 65 years and above – a percentage that is growing year on year – there is a strong argument for hospitals to consider a stretcher fleet that comprises an appropriate proportion of low-height stretchers in order to improve patient safety and offer protection for those most at risk from falls.
If you would like to discuss this further or set up a demonstration or trial of the MultiFlow stretcher at your trust, please get in touch on 01473 741144, or via the contact form below.
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