Iowa Health System: Implementing Fall Prevention in Pilot Units in Three Hospitals

Prevention of Hospital Falls

Dates of Program: January 2006 to September 2007

Field of Work: Prevention of patient falls in hospitals

Synopsis of the Work: Prevention of Hospital Falls was a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in which eight hospitals collaborated with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Cambridge, Mass., to test interventions aimed at preventing harmful patient falls. Informed by feedback from the hospitals, the institute developed and disseminated a package of strategies to prevent injuries from patient falls in acute care hospital units.

One of the participants, Iowa Health System in Iowa and western Illinois, tested and implemented fall prevention interventions (e.g., screening patients for risk of falls and reviewing causes of falls with staff) in pilot units at three of its 10 hospitals. Other hospitals in the system were free to adopt and build on the interventions. The pilot units did not achieve statistically significant reductions in the rate of fall injuries, but the Iowa Health System hospitals as a whole did. Read the sidebar for more information.

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