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Patient safety

October 26, 2016

Complimentary guide released to help hospitals prevent patient falls

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare and the Health Research & Educational Trust (HRET) have released a complimentary guide — “Preventing Patient Falls: A Systematic Approach from the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare Project” — to help hospitals prevent patient falls. 

The guide includes: 

  • Descriptions of the types of risks that lead to patient falls and falls with injury
  • The root causes for those risks
  • Solutions designed to prevent them
  • Case studies from the five pilot hospitals describing successes and lessons learned

The five participating hospitals were: Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown, New York; Baylor Scott & White Health in Dallas, Texas; Kaiser Permanente Zion Medical Center in San Diego, California; Memorial Hermann Memorial City Hospital in Houston, Texas; and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

As a result of the project, the participating hospitals reduced the rate of patient falls by 35 percent and the rate of falls with injury by 62 percent in aggregate. The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare used the findings to develop its Targeted Solutions Tool® (TST®) for Preventing Falls to help hospitals measure their current states, analyze and discover unique causes, implement targeted solutions, and sustain and spread improvements. The tool is available to all Joint Commission-accredited organizations.

“We are excited to share this guide with hospitals and other health care organizations to help prevent patient falls and falls with injury,” said Anne Marie Benedicto, MPP, MPH, vice president, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. “Along with the related TST®, hospitals now have key resources to help them tackle the alarming number of patient falls that occur each year by utilizing a unique set of solutions tailored to their individual organization.”

Each year, an estimated 700,000 to 1 million people fall in U.S. hospitals. Injuries related to falls can result in an additional 6.3 hospital days, and the cost for a serious fall with injury averages $14,056 per patient. To address this critical patient safety issue, the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare worked with seven hospitals to apply Robust Process Improvement®, a blended approach to problem-solving that incorporates Lean, Six Sigma and change management methodologies.

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