Falls simulation room: Do you see what your patient sees?

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FALLS ARE ONE of the most difficult problems identified in the hospital. Falls that occur in the inpatient setting are costly and harm the patient's healing and recovery process. From 30% to 50% of patient falls result in injuries that can increase the patient's length of stay, increase pain, and decrease mobility.1 Although patient safety is of the highest importance, the financial impact of falls to healthcare institutions is also a concern. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services won't reimburse certain hospital-acquired conditions, including trauma related to falls such as fractures, dislocations, and intracranial injuries.2 The risk of a fall can be attributed in part to the lack of familiarity with the environment; multiple medications, tubes, and catheters; and acute illness with an altered mental status. (See What causes falls?)
Information presented by The Joint Commission coupled with an increase in our institution's fall rate from 2.25 falls per 1,000 patient days in April 2014 to 4.38 in July 2014 prompted us to look for a new and innovative approach to decrease falls in our organization. Although many articles address fall prevention, the authors found no research addressing a specific fall simulation room, making our approach to fall prevention unique.
Education of nursing staff must contain fall prevention intervention strategies to include collaboration with all departments, modification of interventions, and evaluation of interventions as they're implemented throughout the organization. The falls simulation room described in this article teaches staff in all departments to visualize their role in fall prevention.
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