University of Nebraska Medical Center

Universal Interventions to Reduce Fall Risk for All Patients

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Anyone can fall if conditions pose a risk (e.g. tripping over an obstacle on the floor). Universal interventions are steps that a hospital should take to keep all patients safe from falling, regardless of whether a patient was identified at risk upon completion of a fall risk assessment. Universal interventions reduce the risk of falling for not only patients, but also visitors and staff. Universal interventions focus largely on reducing risks in the physical environment, but also address how patients interact with the environment and staff. Many are common sense steps to keep patients safe.

Universal Interventions

A list of common universal interventions includes:

Interventions Rationale
Bed in low position Reduce the chance the patient will fall from a high surface if he/she leaves the bed unassisted.
Call light and personal belongings within reach  Reduce the chance the patient will leave the bed or chair unassisted.
Declutter environment  Reduce trip hazards.
Floor clean and dry   Reduce slip hazards.
Handrails in bathroom, hallways, etc. Assist the patient’s balance during transfers and ambulation.
Locked wheels on hospital bed and wheelchair Provide a sturdy surface from which the patient can transfer.
Night lights/supplemental lighting Improve the patient’s ability to use vision for balance and see potential obstacles in his/her path.
Nonslip, well-fitting footwear Reduce slip and trip hazards. Assist the patient’s balance. 
Patient/family education  Familiarize patients and family with the environment and how to work with staff to reduce risk.
Purposeful hourly rounding Proactively address the patient’s needs to reduce the chance he/she will get up unassisted.
Top bedrails up Provide something that the patient can use to assist himself/herself with bed mobility and a visual demarcation for the edge of the bed.

Universal Interventions Education

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Universal Interventions Tools