How One Rural Hospital Prevents Patient Falls

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , October 2, 2013

The common theme in all of these tactics is to raise awareness of the risks posed by falls, and to create an environment where everyone plays a role in preventing them. The good news is that these tactics can be done with very little financial stake, and the return on investment can be huge.

"This is one area where I feel like we have had success in hard-wiring these practices so that everybody is on board with what needs to be done to keep the patient safe from a fall," McCully says. "Sometimes we have so many things in healthcare that are in front of us all the time, that it is hard to always focus on some of the stuff that maybe is the most important. That has not been the case with this. It is something that everybody has embraced and taken their own accountability for their piece of making it happen. We did so many different things that spoke to different groups of people as this played out that I think we were able to make a real change."

McCully says she is not concerned about staff losing focus or feeling like the problem no longer exists as the number of falls has plummeted.

"With this particular issue, that hardwire change is there and I don't see that that is going to go away when we focus on something else," she says. "I am not saying we aren't going to have another fall ever, of course. But I don't see that the changes we've made are going to be transient. They are hardwired."

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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