Hospital Spotlight: Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Implements Evidence-based Practices to Reduce Falls

Posted on July 11, 2019

Hospital SpotlightApproximately 700,000 to 1 million hospital patients nationwide fall annually. An estimated one-third of those incidents result in injury, which costs an estimated $30,000 per fall.

In July 2018, Manistique-based Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital implemented an evidence-based bundle of care to reduce falls in its emergency department and on its medical/surgical floor. As a result, Schoolcraft decreased falls by 60% and extended the length of periods without falls, improving patient safety.

The quality improvement intervention started with Schoolcraft reviewing its fall policy and creating a protocol to assess risk. The Morse Fall Scale (MFS) is a quick method that aims to screen risk in all hospital patients during admission, change of shift and change of care provider; after a fall; and upon change of assessment. Each level has its own list of interventions.

The MFS categorizes fall risk by color: green is low risk, yellow is moderate and red is high. In August 2018, Schoolcraft started to hang a colored star on each patient’s door to notify staff of their fall risk.

The Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital team implemented an evidence-based bundle of care to reduce falls.Schoolcraft also purchased new Stryker S3 beds for both units to help minimize fall risk, installed a call light system, provided extensive education for all staff on its technology and the hospital’s entire fall prevention policy, and created a fall task force comprised of nurses, nurse aids and hospital administration.

“We taught staff that everyone is accountable and can help when needed,” said Merrisa MacGregor, RN, BSN, medical/surgical emergency room manager at Schoolcraft. “You’re not limited to a particular department. If you see a blinking light, jump in and help the patient.”

The biggest drivers for change and improved outcomes in fall prevention have been communication, education and leadership support.

Schoolcraft staff has ongoing communication with its patients and families to offer education on the importance of fall prevention interventions, weekly emails are provided to staff to communicate how many days each unit has been fall free, and compliance audits are performed weekly to ensure staff is adhering to risk-stratified fall prevention interventions.

Moving forward, Schoolcraft aims to continue its focus on fall prevention by implementing new technologies and methodologies across its units and striving to extend its periods without falls.

This article was featured in the MHA Keystone Center Newsletter. To subscribe, please contact Ashley Sandborn, MHA Keystone Center communications specialist.


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  • Hospital Spotlight: Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital Implements Evidence-based Practices to Reduce Falls

Tags: Hospital Spotlight, fall-related injuries, Schoolcraft Memorial Hospital

Posted in: Patient Safety & Quality

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