The Quality and Education for Nurses (QSEN) project has set several goals for future nurses to meet in terms of knowledge, skills, and attitude (KSAs), one of which is safety (2014). The definition of safety according to QSEN is minimizing risk of harm to patients through system effectiveness and individual performance (QSEN, 2014). Since falls are such a huge occurrence in health care, preventing falls is critical for patient safety. The Joint Commission (2011) has also noted fall prevention as a National Safety Patient Goal (NPSG) 09.02.01 requiring hospitals to reduce the risk of harm resulting from falls.
A fall is an “untoward event which results in the patient coming to rest unintentionally on the ground” (Morris & Isaacs, 1980). When it comes to patient safety in health care, there isn’t any subject that takes precedence. Patient falls are a major cause for concern in the health industry, particularly in an acute-care setting such as a hospital where a patient’s mental and physical well being may already be compromised. Not only do patient falls increase the length of hospital stays, but it has a major impact on the economics of health care with adjusted medical costs related to falls averaging in the range of 30 billion dollars per year (Center for Disease Control [CDC], 2013). Patient falls are a common phenomenon seen most often in the elderly population. One out of three adults, aged 65 or older, fall each year (CDC, 2013). Complications of falls are quite critical in nature and are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries including traumatic brain injuries and fractures. A huge solution to this problem focuses on prevention and education to those at risk. Intervention to resolve this issue involves leadership and management within an organization to implement a fall reduction program with favorable patient outcomes. The process of implementing a fall reduction program is largely dependent on the organizational senior leadership and resource availability. Validated need for such a program, such as the number of falls within a time period, adverse effects, and legalities will be considered as major factors to implement a fall reduction program. Implementation of this program would involve creating an interdisciplinary team, education, and choosing what practice to utilize. Overall, the main goal of a fall reduction program is to benefit patient care and prevent harm while still maintaining independence.
A thorough analysis of occurrences of falls in the hospital can occur through research or personal experience. I learned the seriousness of patient falls while working as a staff nurse on a cardiac unit of a local hospital. Understanding the dynamics of disease process in relation to the specialty floor one works on is beneficial for assessing fall risk. For example, cardiac nurses observe the effects of major cardiac surgeries and...