Accreditation

Case study: Reducing falls by engaging patients

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, June 1, 2018

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Brigham and Women's 'Fall TIPS' tool offers tailored approach to falls prevention

The good news is that patient falls are largely preventable. Doing so can save patients undue pain and save a hospital around $1 million a year.

The bad news: There are still between 700,000 and 1 million patient falls each year. Of that number, 30%–35% of falls lead to injuries such as internal bleeding, lacerations, and fractures. In addition, around 11,000 of those falls are fatal. Every fall adds an average of 6.3 days to a patient’s hospital stay and $14,056 to the cost of care—expenses CMS won’t cover.

But there’s at least room for improvement, which is a good start. 

The Joint Commission reports that patient falls were the second most common sentinel event of 2017. The accreditor has been trying to curb this trend for years, even making it the topic of its Sentinel Event Alert 55.  

One hospital that has succeeded in curbing the trend is Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. When clinicians there walk into a patient's room, they only need a quick glance at a laminated, color-coded sheet of paper next to the bed to understand that patient’s fall risks.

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