Fall Prevention Month success stories: Samaritan Healthcare fall prevention program reduces patient injuries

September 17, 2020

September is Fall Prevention Awareness Month, and Fall Prevention Awareness Day occurs on the first day of autumn. WSHA has been an active and collaborative partner, convening our member hospitals to implement post-fall management, including stratifying outcome data to identify vulnerable populations within their organizations that are at most risk for injury. Throughout September, WSHA will highlight members’ clinical improvement journeys. WSHA safety and quality director Amy Anderson is available at amya@wsha.org for falls questions. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.

The article below was submitted by Samaritan Healthcare.

Over the last two years, Samaritan Healthcare has greatly reduced patient falls and fall-related injuries. In 2019, Samaritan’s patient fall with injury rate per 10,000 adjusted patient days was 2.68. As of September 2020, it is 2.09. Sending monthly staff safety reminders, introducing purposeful hourly rounding, implementing new fall-reduction tools and a new Falls Committee have been key to their successful fall prevention program.

Samaritan staff have decreased falls and patient injuries by bedside fall mats, mobility boards and gait belts for ambulating patients, and frequent tele-monitoring. Tele-monitoring provides remote, continuous patient observation for fall prevention and other safety concerns. Not a single patient has fallen while under tele-monitoring. Samaritan also uses EGRESS—a bedside screening tool that assesses a patients ability to ambulate and transfer—which helps to determine fall risk and the appropriate intervention.

The Samaritan Falls Committee, which meets weekly, works with staff to remove barriers that make it harder for staff to prevent falls. If a fall occurs, the staff who were caring for the patient at the time of fall meets with the committee. Together, they assess the fall and discuss ways to prevent a similar fall in the future. For example, the committee found that staff couldn’t easily access gait belts in patient rooms. Once the gait belts were relocated, compliance with gait belt use improved. Staff members share what they’ve learned with their departments to mitigate the risk of repeat falls and injuries. (Julie Johnson, patient safety & quality RN coordinator)


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