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Nursing Falls Prevention: Minimizing Falls during Hospitalization

What are we looking to improve?
According to national data, falls during hospitalization are increasing, placing patients at risk for fractures, head injury, pain, permanent disability, even death. While the elderly are affected most, patients who have undergone joint replacement or are on certain medications for pain or heart disease also are susceptible to falling. Through our initiative, we look to decrease the incidence of patient falls.

What strategies/measures have we implemented for improvement?
Although the incidence of patient falls at Mount Sinai Health System hospitals is below the New York State benchmark, the systemís nurses wanted to decrease their occurrence even further. An innovative organization-wide fall prevention and documentation program was instituted, which incorporates:

  • The prominent display of door signs and chart stickers to communicate risk status
  • The use of the color yellow (for patient ID bands and treaded slipper socks, among other items) as designated by the national Colors of Safety effort
  • A new fall-risk assessment located in the patientís electronic medical record

What have we accomplished to date?
Falls-with-injury rates decreased significantly at all Mount Sinai Health System hospitals, by an average of 35% within the last year, as measured by the number of falls-with-injury per 1,000 patient days, reported to New York State.

What are our future plans?
We are working on an Early Mobilization Project to make our patients stronger and prevent the occurrence of adverse effects associated with being bed-ridden. This project will involve getting patients out of bed and moving, having them sit and stand up, exercising their legs, and changing their bed position. It also will require obtaining sufficient proper equipment to assist patients with their mobility.

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