Reducing patient falls: Two healthcare systems, two different approaches

Patient Safety Monitor Insider

June 11, 2015

Patient safety experts contend with a multitude of intricate health complications, from healthcare-associated infections to medication management. However, amid these complex problems, one outwardly simple adverse event continues to pervade the industry: patient falls.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) estimates that as many as one million patients fall in the hospital each year. Falls may result in a few minor bumps and bruises, but in many cases, they can also lead to further health complications, including fractures, lacerations, or internal bleeding. AHRQ estimates that one-third of patient falls are preventable; however, what may seem like a straightforward problem is in fact very complicated. Falls can occur for any number of reasons, ranging from medication side effects to lower body weakness.

Healthcare facilities have found success in stopping patient falls by establishing an organized fall prevention program that identifies unique fall risk factors associated with each patient. Recently, two separate healthcare systems have been recognized for their efforts in this area.

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