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Low-Tech Tool Helps Reduce Patient Falls

A simple tool dubbed the Falls Wheel is successfully helping providers better assess and reduce patient fall risk. Developed by The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the tool outlines specific interventions for four risk categories to help prevent fall injuries.

Since it began using the tool, Wexner has reduced falls by 10 percent and successfully avoided falls for five months in the hospital’s targeted safety areas (where patients are at highest risk).

With the help of patients and their families, staff identified fall and injury risks and preventions. To evaluate a solution, the work group took these steps:

  1. edited the then-current Wexner fall/injury risk prevention policy
  2. helped staff assess factors that contribute to falls
  3. reviewed related signs and materials used to educate patients, families, and staff
  4. suggested activities for engaging patients and families in falls prevention

Using insights from this work group, leaders in quality and patient safety, nursing, and patient and family engagement developed a low-tech stratification wheel to deploy hospitalwide.

The Falls Wheel, a round dial that clearly depicts a patient’s fall risk using color, is now located on the door of each patient’s room and is updated every eight hours by the patient’s nurse.

Is your hospital doing something similar? Please share your experience in the comments below.


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