Quality improvement remains one of the primary goals of many healthcare facilities, departments, and individuals. Fall prevention is an area of major concern that has been studied in detail, and various strategies and methods have been developed to address the problem. Nevertheless, up to 30% of older patients suffer injuries due to falls annually, which is associated with negative health outcomes for patients and considerable financial losses for the healthcare system (McAtee et al., 2019). Falls that take place in the clinical setting are also rather frequent and associated with increased costs for specific healthcare units. At Clarion Court Skilled Nursing Facility in Shakopee, MN, this problem is rather persistent and requires close attention. The present paper includes a brief description of the issue and quality improvement strategies that can be utilized.
According to the case study, the staff of the healthcare facility in question acknowledges the problem, but no strict policy on the matter seems to be present. A dietary staff member claims that spills happen quite often since the personnel is overloaded with tasks and tend to be in a rush. Patients may fall due to their health condition, while the residents having continence issues can also cause problems related to slippery floors.
As mentioned above, various instruments have been developed to address to reduce the rate of falls or mitigate the associated negative consequences. Some of the most recent strategies that have proved to be effective are linked to risk assessment (Walter, Aitchison, & Gochenour, 2019). For instance, Duckworth et al. (2019) claim that a three-stage fall prevention process can become a solution to the problem. This model entails risk assessment, the creation of a fall prevention plan, and the implementation of this plan (Duckworth et al., 2019). Physical training is regarded as a cost-effective prevention strategy for older patients, so standard exercises for such patients tend to include elements of this practice (Li et al., 2019). Clearly, the final stage of the fall prevention model mentioned above is critical as the correct implementation of the plan ensures its success.
Nurses should play a key role in the development of an organizational culture where this three-step practice is the norm. The risk assessment will enable nurses to manage resources effectively. The patients who are at a higher risk of falling will receive more attention and will be encouraged to participate in specific fall prevention programs (Duckworth et al., 2019). It is noteworthy that nursing professionals will need certain training to provide high-quality care to such patients because the zero-fall policy can result in negative outcomes. For instance, it has been found that nurses who have to work in such an environment tend to restrict older patients rather than focus on their physical development (King, Pecanac, Krupp, Liebzeit, & Mahoney, 2016). However, the efficient allocation of resources will be instrumental in addressing this issue. The nurse will have more time to provide care to particular patients, which will lead to a decrease in their workload. As a result, nurses will be less worn-out and will be able to pay more attention to quality.
Nurses will become more responsible since they will have more time and energy to notice potential hazards and react accordingly. For example, nursing practitioners will pay more attention to floors and will notice spills or other threats that can cause falls in the clinical setting. Nurses will take action and react properly making sure that no one gets injured. Nursing professionals should also collaborate with other employees and train them to remain cautious and report about any hazards. Reporting and timely reacting should become a part of the organizational culture at the facility under consideration.
Communication issues can also be addressed if nurses become more involved in this process. Nursing practitioners often have the necessary knowledge and skills to identify potential threats, prevent numerous unwanted events, and respond to various issues that take place in the healthcare environment (McAtee et al., 2019). Therefore, these professionals should be empowered since currently, they seem to have minimal authority. The existing communication channels should be improved substantially as they are not working.
Information systems contribute to a significant level of coordination, but conventional types of communication should be enhanced. It is necessary to consider using wearable devices (or screens in certain areas) so that technicians, dietary staff, nursing personnel, and other authorized employees could see a set of issues. The upgraded list of problems to be addressed, the responsible individual (or department), and the status of each task should be available for all the stakeholders. The implementation of such technologies will ensure access of all employees to the most important information.
On balance, it is necessary to emphasize that the quality of care provided at Clarion Court Skilled Nursing Facility should be improved. A new fall prevention strategy will contribute to the enhanced quality of provided healthcare services. The project will include the implementation of a three-stage fall prevention method, the use of new communication channels, and the closer collaboration of the personnel. Nursing practitioners will become the core professionals during the implementation of this project because they have the necessary skills and knowledge. At the same time, these healthcare practitioners will require more authority to complete the task successfully. The organizational culture will also need to undergo certain changes as the focus on quality, reporting, and appropriate reacting should become its indispensable components.
Duckworth, M., Adelman, J., Belategui, K., Feliciano, Z., Jackson, E., Khasnabish, S., … Dykes, P. C. (2019). Assessing the effectiveness of engaging patients and their families in the three-step fall prevention process across modalities of an evidence-based fall prevention toolkit: An implementation science study. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 21(1). Web.
King, B., Pecanac, K., Krupp, A., Liebzeit, D., & Mahoney, J. (2016). Impact of fall prevention on nurses and care of fall risk patients. The Gerontologist, 58(2), 331-340.
Li, F., Harmer, P., Eckstrom, E., Fitzgerald, K., Akers, L., & Chou, L. S., … Winters-Stone, K. (2019). Cost-effectiveness of a therapeutic Tai Ji Quan fall prevention intervention for older adults at high risk of falling. The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, 74(9), 1504-1510.
McAtee, R. E., Chernoff, R., Packard, K., Thomasson, W., Spradley, L., & Mercado, C. (2019). Fall prevention programs for rural community dwelling older adults results in improved balance. Innovation in Aging, 3(Supplement_1), S856-S857.
Walter, J., Aitchison, S., & Gochenour, K. (2019). Fall prevention assessment and exercise recommendations. In Proceedings 2019: 15th Annual Symposium on Graduate Research and Scholarly Projects (pp. 1-15). Wichita, KS: Wichita State University.