Children who have undergone surgery or who are taking pain medications may find it difficult to stand, walk or maintain their balance. They also may lose strength or flexibility after being sedentary, or experience changes in cognition, memory, vision and hearing, making them more prone to falls.

Moreover, if a child has a history of falls before entering the hospital, he or she is at an increased risk of falling while in the hospital.

Preventing falls while in the hospital is a priority at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco and UCSF Medical Center. Our falls prevention program is designed to carefully monitor children at risk for falls and involves everyone on the health care team.

What does UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco do to prevent falls?

Nurses at UCSF screen children for risk of falls when they are admitted, and then twice daily during their hospital stay. If a child is considered at risk for falls, special measures are taken. These prevention measures include placing children on special beds with bed alarms, hanging signs that alert caregivers that the child is at increased risk for falls, and educating children and their families to use their call lights to ask for assistance when getting out of bed to go to the toilet.

Fall prevention is a team effort. Patients and family members play a key role in preventing falls. Patients and families are educated about the importance of asking health care providers for assistance when getting out of bed or moving from a chair or bathroom to return to bed.

How does UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital San Francisco measure fall rates?

Fall rates are calculated as the number of falls per 1,000 patient days. UCSF submits falls data to the Collaborative Alliance for Nursing Outcomes and to the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators to determine how we compare against other hospitals in California and the nation.