Reducing Patient Falls Is an Urgent Priority for Hospitals
Nationwide, patient falls during hospital stays are a leading cause of death and disability. In fact, hospitalization itself appears to increase a person’s fall risk. A nationwide study found that about three percent of patients fall while in the hospital, while nearly 30% of those who fall sustain injury, adding an average of 6.9 days to a hospital stay.
Consider that the average cost of a fall-related injury in hospitals was $14,000 in 2011, and that those costs are no longer reimbursable under Medicare. Plus, in order to achieve Magnet designation, a hospital’s patient fall rate must be consistently below the national average. It’s no surprise that hospital leaders see an urgent need to reduce patient falls.
The problem is, they don’t always know where to start.
Disciplined Research Has Revealed Key Fall Risk Factors
A recent two-year study has identified the primary causes of hospital patient falls and the interventions that are most feasible and effective in preventing falls. The study concluded that:
Simply posting generic information at the bedside (such as signs saying “Fall Risk”) does NOT reduce risk
Inconsistent communication across a care team is a primary barrier to fall prevention
All stakeholders (care team members, patients, and family members) must work together to prevent patient falls
Fall TIPS is a Direct Response to Reduce Fall Risk Factors in Hospitals
As a result of what we learned in our two years of studying hospital patient falls, the project team at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA developed and tested “Fall TIPS,” a fall prevention tool kit that consists of a formal risk assessment and tailored plan of care for each patient.
We implemented the individualized assessment and care plan consistently with every patient on participating units, using both EHR-based tools and paper tools, to meet the needs of diverse hospital environments.
Implementing the Fall TIPS Program Demonstrably Reduces Patient Falls
Since putting Fall TIPS into practice in units at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and at other participating hospitals, we have seen the number of patient falls drop by 25% on units where interventions applied, compared to control units.
Fall TIPS is Working at Hospitals Across the US
More than 20 hospitals nationwide are now reducing their patient fall rates and improving outcomes with Fall TIPS, and more are joining the Fall TIPS Collaborative all the time. Collaborative members have found that the key components for success include:
Support from hospital and unit leadership, and nursing staff
Engaged champions committed to the program
Fall TIPS Training for nursing and non-nursing staff
Valid and reliable fall risk assessments conducted with every patient
Tailored fall prevention care planning for every patient
Consistent implementation of the tailored care plan across the care team, including non-nursing staff
Strong engagement with patients and families taking an active role in fall prevention
Post-fall management to understand why a fall occurred and remediate the cause
Ongoing feedback to staff and unit leadership, so they can make adjustments and improvements in their fall prevention workflows, communication, teamwork, and care customization for each patient
Fall TIPS is Here for You
The Fall TIPS Collaborative has created this site to guide you through the complete process of implementing Fall TIPS, assessing results, providing feedback to staff, and making ongoing improvements. On this site, you’ll find helpful guidelines for
Gaining internal support to start a Fall TIPS program
Implementing the program as part of your EHR, or in paper format
Gathering results data
Making ongoing improvements
Please join us and take this important step in reducing patient falls in your hospital.