Nurse-led interdisciplinary committee reduces patient falls

The University of Chicago Medicine delivers high quality healthcare to patients. Within this commitment comes the serious responsibility of keeping patients safe while they are within our care. If patients fall when they’re hospitalized, not only is their wellbeing and experience hindered, but it poses a setback risk for their recovery. That’s why the UChicago Medicine’s Falls Committee was formed: to investigate the root cause of patient falls and come up with creative and effective methods to reduce how often they occur.

Co-chaired by UChicago Medicine nursing staff, the Falls Committee includes staff from across several departments, underscoring a commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and the need to have system-wide participation to keep patients safe. (The wide range of active committee members includes representatives from pharmacy to environmental services.) All members are driven by the desire to do well by patients. And the data prove the group’s remarkable results. In ambulatory locations, the team’s prevention efforts have resulted in a 42% decrease in falls and a 50% decrease in falls with injury since FY21. In the inpatient setting, falls have decreased by 8%, while falls with injury have been reduced by 17%.

These impressive numbers are a direct result of efforts introduced by the Falls Committee that include:

  • developing and distributing “Huddle Cards” to serve as handy tip sheets on best practices;
  • setting up bed alarms;
  • adopting a remote patient monitoring system.

One of the most innovative efforts was developing educational “escape rooms” to make learning about fall prevention efforts more fun and engaging for staff. All of these ideas came from listening to frontline staff and UChicago Medicine’s shared commitment to providing the best patient care.