Preventing Patient Falls
Falls while in the hospital can result in serious injury to the patient, yet falls are one of the most difficult patient safety issues to address because of the multiple potential causes. Patients can fall because of preventable equipment issues such as lack of guard rails or missing slip mats, but also from trying to get out of bed without assistance. Patients who are disoriented or on certain medications are also at risk for falling, and the risk of serious injury from falls increases with age.
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, falls are the most common adverse event in hospitals. Minnesota hospitals have made fall prevention a top priority and our hospitals are working to reduce and eventually eliminate falls that result in injury. Preventing falls takes cooperation from the entire care team, the patient and his or her family.
SAFE from FALLS
In 2007, the Minnesota Hospital Association initiated the Call to Action framework around falls prevention, resulting in SAFE from FALLS. Since SAFE from FALLS began, falls resulting in serious harm to patients have decreased by 25 percent in Minnesota hospitals. SAFE from FALLS provides hospitals with resources of best clinical practice to prevent patient falls, a road map of best practices and a tool kit to implement the road map recommendations in their facilities. Currently, 115 hospitals are participating in SAFE from FALLS, which means they have agreed to implement the best practices as outlined in the roadmap. The SAFE from FALLS roadmap is based on the work of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (VISN 8) Patient Safety Center and Minnesota Adverse Health Event Learnings.
Falls are one of the 10 areas of focus being addressed through the Partnership for Patients Hospital Engagement Network. This public-private partnership, which builds on the work already underway through SAFE from FALLS, aims to reduce hospital falls by 40 percent by 2013.
Download the Road Map to a Comprehensive Falls Prevention Program.
Preventing toileting-related falls
MHA and our member hospitals recognized an important need to improve patient safety by reducing toileting-related falls. MHA commissioned Pope Architects and Michael Graves Architecture and Design to conduct research and produce a guideline document that recommends environmental solutions to contribute to minimizing patient falls. The "Creating a Safe Environment to Prevent Toileting-related Falls" report summarizes the research, analysis and recommendations. The document will act as an integral part in the SAFE from FALLS program and road map, and provide a tool for facility assessment and future design solutions as facility projects are implemented in the toilet room.