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Providence Medical Center Focuses On Decreasing Risk of Patient Falls

Posted: 01 October, 2012

Providence Medical Center (PMC) is working closely with all staff members to provide the highest quality, safest care for patients with a specific focus on reducing the risk of inpatient falls, a costly and serious adverse event in hospitals. Falls have a negative impact on patients’ health and quality of life and represent a significant cost to society.  As such, decreasing the incidence of patient falls is a priority of the federal government, regulatory agencies, hospital quality improvement and risk management programs, and patient safety research.
Although reducing patient fall risk  is often viewed as a nursing issue, successful fall risk reduction programs have input from a variety of health care professionals including nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, medicine, quality improvement/risk management, as well as the support of hospital leadership.  In the past decade, PMC has made significant improvements to improve patient safety and minimize the occurrence of patient falls. These improvements include: 

  • “Call don’t FALL” magnet reminders in each patient room review of Fall Risk information with patients upon admittance, placement of non-slip strips in each patient bathroom, usage of TAB alarms on all patients wearing a yellow arm band, usage of bed alarms (sensitivity is changed for high risk patients), glow-in-the-dark tape is applied to all call lights, and last but not least the continued usage of the Incident Fall Reporting Form.  PMC’s Fall Risk Committee was formed in 2008 with committee members Amy Bowers, Mandi Heithold, Laura Gamble and Dani Frahm.
In an effort to further reduce inpatient fall risk, PMC is one of 19 hospitals across Nebraska that have partnered with researchers at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC), The Nebraska Medical Center (TNMC), the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO), and Methodist Hospital. Through this project, funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the hospitals participating in the project will receive education and support in developing a customized plan to improve their process of managing fall risk. The research team will also provide support to hospitals in implementing and evaluating the success of their plan over the next two years.  This partnership focuses improving inpatient fall risk reduction by leveraging professionalism and providing support from a culture of safety, teamwork, and organizational learning and sensemaking. This collaborative partnership will make a significant contribution to public health by integrating supported practices into fall risk reduction, which will support diffusion and adoption of these practices and make a difference in patient care and patient safety. Dr. Katherine Jones, the lead researcher of the project, stated that “this project is consistent with UNMC’s mission to improve the health of Nebraskans and with my history of learning with and from rural providers about how to improve the quality and safety of care.”
According to Laura Gamble RN, Director of Nursing at PMC, “The improvements that have been made at Providence Medical Center to date signify our team’s dedication to providing each and every patient who comes to us for care with a safe place to heal.”  

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