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FALLS: Bedside floor mats risky for patient falls?

INTRODUCTION: Floor mats are sometimes placed by the patient’s bed to cushion the patient in the event of a fall. This blog post has proved popular, so I’ve added additional information.

While the mats have been studied to evaluate their ability to reduce the force of impact in a patient fall, (Doig & Morse, 2010) focused on how the mat affected the patient’s ability to move around near the bed.  The bevel edge of the mat proved to be a potential hazard.  The authors conclude that the mats should be used only with patients who are not able to get out of bed and in situations, such as in the imaging department, when patients must stand unaided.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has published an overview of considerations in selecting bedside floor mats (Applegarth, 2008?).

(Crane et al., 2016) compared the characteristics of six different types of floorpads: woodfoam, exercise pad, rubber, gel, gym pad, and airex.  Of particular interest was the trade off between energy absorption (as a patient falls to the ground) versus footing instability and balance (in increased tippiness as a patient gets out of bed and moves around the room).  Also of interest was determining whether each material got in the way of caregivers.


  1. Doig, A.K., and Morse, J.M. (2010, June). The hazards of using floor mats as a fall protection device at the bedside.  Journal of Patient Safety.  6(2):68-75.  Click here for publisher’s website: http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Abstract/2010/06000/The_Hazards_of_Using_Floor_Mats_as_a_Fall.2.aspx
  2. Applegarth, S.P. (No date, 2008?)  Tips and Tricks for Selecting a Bedside Floor Mat.  Tampa, FL: VISN 8 Patient Safety Center of Inquiry.
  3. Crane, B., and others. (2016, Sept.). Multidisciplinary testing of floor pads on stability, energy absorption, and ease of hospital use for enhanced patient safety. Journal of Patient Safety, 12(3), 132-139.  Click here for publisher’s website: http://journals.lww.com/journalpatientsafety/Abstract/2016/09000/Multidisciplinary_Testing_of_Floor_Pads_on.3.aspx

One Response

  1. HealthLeaders Media offers some tips for reducing the number of patient falls. See http://www.healthleadersmedia.com/page-1/LED-257370/Reducing-InHospital-Patient-Falls

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