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Thursday, August 27, 2009

An editorial about soft floors in hospitals?

Yesterday when I arrived at the hospital I heard a code blue overhead, and arrived in a room of a patient who had fallen and banged his head. A CT determined the patient had a head bleed due to the fall, and the patient was helecoptered to a larger trauma center.

Since then I've been thinking a lot about patient's falling. It seems that there are a lot of frail, old and sick people in hospitals. Like little children, they are prone to falls. Yet, when young people fall they are a lot more flexible and less prone to break hips, smash heads, and end up with life threatening pneumonia or a swollen brain as a result.

If you travel to any playground you will find some kind of soft padding to protect kids in case of falls. This is a good thing. Yet, when we get into hosptitals, the floors are made of rock, hard tiles. Hard head on on tile makes for a high risk for intracranial injury, and maybe even death. Falls also equal broken wrists, legs and hips. Broken hips in old people increase the risk of developing pneumonia, which so happens to be the number one killer of the elderly.

So, after discussing this with my co-workers, I have decided that a worthy investment for hospitals would be to have padded flooring in patient rooms. Why not? If we are going to flip the bill to pad floors where our beloved children play, why can't we flip the bill for padded floors in the hospitals where falls are most likely to happen.


kerri said...

BAM! Right on, Rick!

I volunteer in a nursing home, and while I understand that tile is crucial for not only mobility, but cleanliness, I've also encountered residents after falls--bruised hands, faces, otherwise mobile residents bedridden, or weilding canes or walkers with a fall alert tag because of a fall, etc.

Soft flooring would be a huge improvement. This is a very cool thought.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely! Could not agree more.