Did you know? Falls are the leading cause of injury among those age 65+ in the United States. In 2018, falls attributed to an estimated 2 million Emergency Room (ER) visits, an estimated 95,000 hospitalizations and 32,000 deaths1. The good news is falls often are preventable.

Great Plains Quality Innovation Network recently partnered with the South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition to highlight Monument Health’s fall prevention initiatives and approaches. Monument Health is located in Rapid City, South Dakota. The Monument Health panel included Laura Holland, CNA; Dusty Magelky, DPT and Christina Zweber, MSN, RN. This committed team is working to increase knowledge about falls and factors that contribute to falls, in both the inpatient and outpatient settings.

Krystal Hays“We were fortunate to have the Monument Health team share their best practices and approaches for fall risk identification and prevention. These strategies can be replicated in other organizations and also incorporated in home-based settings. Falls are serious, but often avoidable. It really does take a full-team effort to make an impact, including the healthcare team, patients and their families,” added Krystal Hays; DNP, RN, RAC-CT; Great Plains QIN Regional Project Manager.

The Monument Health team has made a concerted effort to identify risk factors for falls and strategies to eliminate these risks and raise awareness, educate and make changes. A diverse group of care professionals formed a Mobility Committee; including physicians, nurses, quality team members, pharmacy and principal clinic coordinators. This team meets monthly and set an ambitious goal to reduce preventable inpatient falls to ZERO by April 2024.

How are they accomplishing this?  They are reviewing system wide fall data, increasing critical thinking skills, increasing patient and family knowledge regarding hospital falls and standardizing work processes. Successes include implementing standardized fall signs throughout the system; adding a high-fall risk tag to yellow wrist bands and creating a mobility audit tool. 

Access the September 22 presentation and recording on the Event Page – along with the Monument Health Mobility Audit Tool and the Patient Commitment Letter.

Falls are serious and may cause significant morbidity and mortality. The focus on prevention, the factors contributing to falls and how to avoid them is instrumental in reducing injury, unnecessary medical care and overall costs.

South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition LogoThe South Dakota Fall Prevention Coalition’s mission is to cultivate collaboration to reduce falls by increasing knowledge and implementing evidence-based fall prevention solutions for older adults. Visit the Coalition Web site to learn more.

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important facts about falls. (September 5, 2021).