A problem we have in the hospitals are the high number of falls resulting in injury because of short staffing. Joint Commission reported that every year hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals, and 30-50 percent resulting in injury. These patients require additional treatment and it prolongs hospital stays. A research article reports that a fall with injury added 6.3 days to the hospital stay and the average cost for a fall with injury is about $14,000 (Galbraith J, et al, 2011). I work in Progressive Care Neuro telemetry, where the risk for falls it is great because most of the population we have are with strokes, altered mental status, detox, Respiratory and Cardiac disease. When nurses are forced to work with low nurse-to-patient ratios patients fall and patient essential care is missed such as teaching, ambulation, turning, emotional support and charting. When the load increases nurses get burned out, their dissatisfaction increases every day and patients suffer from preventable injuries and inadequate care. Our hospital evaluated these problems and decided to hire more CNA and RN’s. Also, they invested in new equipment such as chair alarms, and bed alarms. All patients are required to have the alarms on, and we have to ambulate with them to the bathrooms and back. These changes decreased the falls drastically.
Galbraith J, et al: Cost analysis of a falls-prevention program in an orthopedic setting. Clinical Orthopedics and Related Research, 2011;469(12):3462-3468. doi:10.1007/s11999-011-1932-9.
Joint Commission. 2015. Sentinel Event Alert. Retrieved from http://www.jointcommission.org/assets/1/18/SEA_55.pdf