Other Nursing Sensitive Measures

Patient Falls with Injury on Medical Units

What are we measuring and why?

Falls are one of the most common adverse events among hospitalized patients. Those that result in an injury may increase a patient’s length of stay and their risk of complications and mortality, particularly among older adults. MGH monitors the percentage of patients who are injured due to a slip or fall while in the hospital (per 1,000 patient days).

How are we doing and how does this compare to best practice?

MGH is dedicated to preventing patient falls and associated injuries. Our philosophy is that one fall is too many. For the 12 months ending in March 2018, our rates in the four areas surveyed were statistically similar to the state averages for hospitals with over 500 beds (www.patientcarelink.org). These rates vary over time and our overall goal is to decrease the risk of falls with injury hospital-wide.

  • Current Scores
  • Lower values are better
0.65 0.4 0.13 0.5 0.45 0.38 0.18 0.42

MGH Source: MGH Safety Reporting System
Comparison Group Source: PatientCareLink

Apr 2017 - Mar 2018 data

0.13 0.15 0.18 0.19 0.5 0.54 0.42 0.84 0.65 0.59 0.45 0.72 0.4 0.46 0.38 0.54

MGH Source: MGH Safety Reporting System
Comparison Group Source: PatientCareLink

What are we doing to improve?

MGH is doing several things to reduce falls and associated injuries. Examples include:

  • Improving the feedback that we provide nurses about fall events on their unit; this helps identify risks that are specific to the type of patients they care for.
  • Installing ceiling lifts in patient rooms to help ensure the safe transfer of patients at risk of falling.
  • Improving the safety of the physical environment, such as installing grab bars in bathrooms.
  • Developing toileting schedules to aid with ambulation to the bathroom - a time when many falls occur.
  • Researching whether conducting frequent and regular checks reduces falls, particularly among patients with conditions that put them at higher risk of falling (e.g., neurology patients).
  • Continuing to explore ways to prevent injuries associated with falls, such as padded clothing and mats on floors.

What can you do?

Patients and family members can reduce the risk of falling by keeping necessary items easily accessible (without standing or leaning) and asking caregivers for assistance.

Call for assistance before standing up if you are feeling dizzy, weak, or have medical equipment attached to your body, such as IVs, drains, or tubes. Additionally, keep your bed in a low position and the nurse call button, phone, and any personal care items within reach.


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