In an initiative that exceeded expectations, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center and
six other hospitals teamed up with the Joint Commission Center for Transforming
Healthcare to significantly decrease the number of falls and fall-related
injuries in their facilities over an 18-month period.
year in the United States, an estimated 11,000 patients die as a result of
falls in hospitals. The goals of the Joint Commission Center’s “Preventing
Falls with Injury” project were to lower the incidence of all patient falls by
25 percent and patient falls with injury by 50 percent. But by using a set of
data-driven methods and tools, the seven participating hospitals were able to reduce
the number of patient falls by 35 percent and falls with injury by 62 percent.
to the Joint Commission Center, a 200-bed hospital that adopts the measures used
in the project could expect to avoid 72 falls with injury and save
approximately $795,000 annually, based on a cost per patient fall of $11,000. (For
perspective, Wake Forest Baptist has 885 licensed beds.)
falls are a serious problem that have received a great deal of attention, yet
defy easy solutions,” said Erin DuPree, M.D., vice president and chief medical
officer of the Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare. “By
targeting interventions to the specific causes of falls and using these
approaches, real and substantial improvement can be achieved.”
the measures employed by the participating hospitals were creating awareness about
patient falls among staff members, empowering patients to take an active role
in their own safety, utilizing a risk-assessment tool for falls, engaging
patients and their families in a fall-safety program and engaging all staff
members to ensure that no patients walk unaccompanied.
Forest Baptist specifically tested two targeted solutions in its pilot patient
care units: mobility and video monitoring. Based on the program’s outcomes, Wake
Forest Baptist implemented these targeted solutions in several other units.
great deal of hard work from several disciplines went into this project,” said
Rebecca Beauchamp, M.S.N., director of nursing at Wake Forest Baptist. “We have
applied the knowledge and interventions gained from this project to save more
lives, prevent injuries to our patients and reduce health care costs. As a
result of our work, we are helping hospitals around the country provide safer,
addition to Wake Forest Baptist, the participating hospitals were Barnes-Jewish
Hospital (Missouri), Baylor Healthcare System (Texas), Fairview Health Services
(Minnesota), Kaiser Permanente (California), Memorial Hermann Healthcare System
(Texas) and Wentworth-Douglass Hospital (New Hampshire).
Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare, founded in 2008, is an
affiliate of The Joint Commission, an independent, not-for-profit organization
that accredits and certifies health care organizations and programs in the