WSHA is committed to continuing to partner with our members on fall prevention and harm reduction. On July 1, 2022, the repository for storing hospital fall data, the Quality Benchmarking System (QBS), will be upgraded in an effort to decrease the reporting burden on hospitals. The upgrade will include all falls, post-fall huddles, falls by age group and falls by type, as well as two new categories: falls by gender and falls by location. WSHA is hosting a webinar from 10–11 a.m. on June 23, 2022, for members to learn more and prepare for the upgrade. Register for the webinar here.
Additional fall prevention and harm reduction tools are available to assist hospitals and providers in fall prevention, such as identifying population-based risk factors and using multifactorial injury risk assessments to engage patients and families in patient care plans. Most importantly, providers can complete an interdisciplinary post fall huddle (PFH) when a patient does fall. This huddle is a short debrief with the patient and family following the fall. It allows clinicians to understand the specific context of “why” the patient fell, the type of the fall and any injuries sustained, to try and prevent a repeat fall from occurring. Guided by evidence and experts, WSHA developed a free, downloadable PFH tool for use by members.
Fall prevention and harm reduction is a priority for WSHA. One-in-four older adults report falling in the U.S. each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fall related deaths in individuals 65 years of age and older rose 30% from 2009 to 2018. In both Washington and Oregon, the rate of fall-related deaths is higher than the national average. With the rising number of falls also comes an increase in health care costs. The CDC estimates that fall-related injuries cost approximately $50 billion dollars each year whereas the cost of fatal falls cost approximately $754 million per year. We will continue partnering with our members to make hospitals as safe as possible for patients and staff. Learn more about WSHA’s fall prevention work online here.