Nurses Play Critical Role in Reducing Patient Falls

Nurse Leader Insider, March 26, 2013

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The National Quality Forum (NQF) has endorsed two of the American Nurse’s Association’s quality measures around patient falls, the ANA reports. The quality measures, developed by the American Nurses Association’s (ANA) National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators® (NDNQI®), aim to lower patient fall rates and patient falls with injury.

According to the ANA, patient falls are among the numerous performance measures reported by NDNQI, a database of nursing performance indicators, which is used to evaluate and improve the quality of nursing care and associated patient outcomes in hospitals. Participating hospitals use the database to identify problem areas and implement solutions. For example, the rate of patient falls that resulted in injury at the more than 1,900 hospitals that collect and submit data to NDNQI dropped by 5.4% from 2009 to 2011, the ANA said.

Here’s a look at the ANA’s tally of how patient falls affect hospitals and healthcare:

•    Although falls are a leading driver of healthcare costs, especially for the elderly, Medicare and Medicaid do not reimburse hospitals for costs associated with injuries from inpatient falls
•    Researchers writing in the Clinics in Geriatric Medicine found that up to half of falls in hospitals result in some injury.
•    They also found that one fall without serious injury increases costs for a hospital by about $3,500, whereas patients with two or more falls without serious injury cost an additional $16,500.
•    Patients who suffered one or more falls with at least one serious injury cost an additional $27,000, researchers said.
•    By 2020, more than four million older Americans are projected to incur a fall with injury annually, with a total cost of about $47 billion (adjusted to 2010 dollars).

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