CMH Falls Prevention Success Shared at State Conference

Preventing patient falls is a high priority at Community Memorial Hospital, and hospitals across the state had the opportunity to learn from its recent success at the Wisconsin Hospital Association “Partners for Patients” conference.

Community Memorial Hospital was one of three hospitals in the state on an expert panel presentation of best practices for preventing patient falls. Colleen Koski, RN, represented CMH as a key team leader in the CMH falls prevention program which has successfully reduced the patient falls rate by 50% since 2008.

The CMH initiative involves three important steps in falls prevention. The first is having a standardized process for identifying patients who are at risk of falls. Second is strict adherence to established protocols which include patient placement in rooms closest to the nurses station, activation of chair and bed alarms, and use of bright yellow colored identifying blankets, socks, wristbands, and door markers which help all hospital staff identify at-risk patients on sight. The third component is hourly rounding, or patient checks.

“We promote a culture of safety with a hospital-wide approach to falls prevention to achieve a heightened awareness of all caregivers from every discipline.” said Koski.

The CMH falls prevention team consists of Carol Winegarden, RN, Director of Quality Services; Colleen Koski, RN, Patient Care Services Manager; Tim Soper, RN; Paula Bake, RN; and Deb Wesolowski, RN.

“By getting involved in the Partners for Patients initiative, we saw an opportunity for sharing of best practices with other hospitals,” said Koski. “We shared our strategies for success, and we learned some new ideas for taking the next step in falls prevention, community outreach beyond the hospital setting.”

The state conference, “Catch the Wisconsin Wave,” hosted by the Wisconsin Hospital Association, is part of the “Partners for Patients” national program to promote patient safety and reduce incidence of injury or complication in the hospital setting. Achieving program targets could save up to $35 billion across the nation’s health care system over three years, including up to $10 billion for Medicare alone, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.