Fall prevention vs. mobility: Hospitals search for proper balance

When it comes to preventing falls, hospitals err on the side of caution.

But keeping patients in bed comes with its own set of risks, including increased risk of blood clots, bed sores and delirium.

A Wall Street Journal article examined the relationship between these issues and found more hospitals are now prioritizing movement rather than avoiding falls at all costs.

“Mobility should be considered a vital sign, like a patient’s level of pain,” Ronald Shorr, director of the Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, Florida, told The Wall Street Journal.

The article pointed out previous government policies inadvertently contributed to decreased mobility in patients. In 2008, CMS stopped reimbursing for fall-related injuries and in 2010 the Affordable Care Act began financially penalizing hospitals with high fall rates.

But in April, CMS started an initiative called Mobility Action Group, which aims to identify and share best practices for increasing mobility while reducing falls.

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