Weekly Must Reads in Patient Safety and Health Care (October 2, 2015) – Prevent Patient Falls and Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Two messages – prevent patient falls and make sure patients get a good night’s sleep.

Prevent Patient Falls

The Joint Commission issued Sentinel Event Alert 55, “Preventing falls and fall-related injuries in health care facilities”.

Image source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/publications/dome/march_2012/a_team_approach_to_preventing_falls
Image source: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/publications/dome/march_2012/a_team_approach_to_preventing_falls

In issuing this Sentinel Event Alert, The Joint Commission says:

Falls resulting in injury are a prevalent patient safety problem. Elderly and frail patients with fall risk factors are not the only ones who are vulnerable to falling in health care facilities. Any patient of any age or physical ability can be at risk for a fall due to physiological changes due to a medical condition, medications, surgery, procedures, or diagnostic testing that can leave them weakened or confused. Here are some statistics about falls in health care facilities:

  • Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals, with 30-50 percent resulting in injury.
  • Injured patients require additional treatment and sometimes prolonged hospital stays. In one study, a fall with injury added 6.3 days to the hospital stay.
  • The average cost for a fall with injury is about $14,000.

Get a Good Nights Sleep

Although we all know the value of a good night’s sleep, Claudia M. Campbell, PhD (Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins University) and her colleagues have found that “poor preoperative sleep is associated with greater pain and poor functional outcomes as long as 12 months after total knee replacement.”

“So, sleep before surgery and one to two months after surgery was very important to outcomes, maybe even 12 months after surgery,” Dr. Campbell said.


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