Fall Prevention on a Medical-Surgical Unit

Fall Prevention on a Medical-Surgical Unit


Name: Arrah Bargmann

Rank: 1LT

Presenter/Poster: Poster

Year: 2017


PUPROSE OF THE STUDY: This project increases patient education regarding falls risk and prevention utilizing a safety contract, potentially reducing the falls rate.

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY: On a Medical-Surgical Unit, does the implementation of a safety contract in combination with current clinical practice guidelines for fall prevention reduce the number of falls?

BACKGROUND: Falls during hospitalizations can result in increased length and cost of hospital stay. A review of the Patient Safety Reporting system and Falls Response Team identified that the number falls on a 26-bed medical-surgical unit doubled from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, the unit had 12 falls and averaged 3.22 falls per 1,000 hospital days. Current literature and clinical practice guidelines were reviewed, suggesting that patient-staff safety contracts, in combination with implementation of clinical practice guidelines, can successfully increase patient adherence to fall prevention measures and reduce the number of inpatient falls.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT/METHOD OF IMPLEMENTATION: After baseline data was obtained, the staff was educated on the multicomponent fall prevention program and the safety contract. The program consists of 1) early assessment of the patient’s fall risk using the Johns Hopkins Fall Assessment Scale, 2) patient education on the factors contributing to the patient’s fall risk during the nursing assessment, 3) an educational handout on fall risk factors, 4) implementation of previously existing fall prevention measures, and 5) a safety contract.

OUTCOMES: The project is currently ongoing and preliminary results are expected at the end of May.

IMPLICATIONS FOR NURSING: Safety contracts were initiated to facilitate a dialogue amongst staff and patients. It improves the safety of patients and it creates a collaborative environment for nurses to conduct safe, quality patient care.

Keywords: falls, patient education, patient safety