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Aspirus Medford Hospital achieves 200 days without a fall

On Thursday, May 21, 2020, Aspirus Medford Hospital achieved its 200th day without a fall. This milestone is considered a huge achievement for all staff at Aspirus.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports each year in the United States between 700,000 and 1 million patients fall while hospitalized. About one-third of these falls could be prevented. Factors leading to patient falls include patients not using the call button to request help when exiting their bed, standing or walking; use of high-risk medications that can cause dizziness or impaired mobility; tripping hazards and more.

Aspirus, which serves communities throughout Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, has a system-wide fall prevention committee. Aspirus Medford Hospital expanded on the efforts of this committee, putting in place a Fall Prevention Taskforce specific to Medford. This taskforce decided to focus not only on patients spending the night in the hospital, but on patients visiting the hospital for outpatient procedures as well.

“We decided as a business unit to take an active role in both inpatient and outpatient areas because every fall we can prevent throughout the facility is a win,” said Jessica Faude, RN-BC, director of medical surgery and ICU at Aspirus Medford Hospital. “A fall can be devastating no matter where it takes place, especially if there are injuries the patient endures from the fall.”

A patient fall is defined as an unplanned descent to the floor with or without injury to the patient. This includes falls when a patient lands on a surface where you wouldn’t expect to find a patient.

Faude attributes Aspirus Medford’s success to talking about preventing falls daily at staff safety huddles, identifying trends, recognizing staff for identifying and reporting potential issues that could lead to a fall, having a checklist at shift change and putting new procedures into place when necessary.

“Aspirus continues to work hard educating staff in all departments, from environmental services to dietitians, on fall prevention,” Faude said. “Every department plays a role. Fall prevention helps patients’ physical and financial health when their hospital stay isn’t extended due to a fall.”