Gait disturbances and immobility are risk factors that are highly correlated with a patient's risk for a fall. A query of five years of event reports to the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority's Pennsylvania Patient Safety Reporting System (PA-PSRS) found that of the class III obese patients who had mobility issues and fell, 7% of these falls were harmful enough to be classified as Serious Events (compared with 3% in the overall PA-PSRS population in 2011). Gait disturbances were identified in 68% of the reports of class III obese patients who fell. Subsequent need for lift teams or lift equipment use following a fall was reported in 64% of the reports of class III obese patients who fell. Targeted falls risk assessment, implementation of falls prevention strategies, and lift teams and lift equipment are essential items to assist in keeping class III obese patients safe when transferring, turning, or ambulating.
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