A while ago, I was spending a great deal of time traveling along the east coast of the US (Maryland seems to be my second home as of late) and came across an article that really made me think of the frustration and struggle a lot of health systems have regarding patient falls and safety measures.
When meeting with a hospital-system CNO, we had a discussion regarding their practices in fall prevention. I was told that they utilize the MORSE Scale to identify whether a patient was a High/Mod/Low Risk of falls. When pressed, she disclosed that the overwhelming majority of patients under this scale measured in the “High Fall Risk” category (over 80%).
When the intervention plan was opened up regarding the High/Mod/Low risk categories, she disclosed that it was a “one size fits all” protocol. For instance, if a patient scored as a “high fall risk” they would be given supervision, toileting assistance, a wrist band, walker for ambulation, and more.
What was clear was that there wasn’t a lot of specifics and a lot of wasted resources. For instance, if a patient does not have a need for an assistive device, why is one being introduced anyway? What if the primary factor for the patient’s increased fall risk is medication side effects, yet we are placing emphasis on other areas?
This approach leads to what we like to call “missing the point”, and is an example why fall rates are continuing to rise despite some form of protocols that are being introduced in these systems.
Screening tools misused as assessments aren’t effective. Assessments without an intervention component aren’t effective. Interventions blindly introduced without focus on the patient’s needs are inefficient and often miss what is needed.
So what is the answer? Asking yourself “how do I keep THIS patient safe?” is a start, but how do you actually know how to keep that patient fall free? By using the Safe Balance system, you will know what risk factors are individually present in THAT patient…as well as what risk factors are present in the next patient, and the other one down the hall that are under your care. With this information, and the results generated from the Safe Balance system, your intervention plan is patient-centered, focused and committed based on the individual under your care…not some “one size fits all” approach.
Our clinical team across the country demonstrates this concept on a regular basis with very intriguing results. It is an eye-opening experience however one with a sense of relief that a patient-centered approach to fall prevention allows clinical care teams to provide much better and more efficient care.
“How do I prevent THIS patient from falling” will lead to “How do we prevent patients from falling” with the right tool and information for your clinicians to act.
Schedule a demonstration of the Safe Balance system on one of your floors today and see how we can help you bring this concept into a reality!