According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults, 65 and older, experiences a fall each year. Of those, 20 to 30 percent suffer moderate to severe injury that makes it hard for them to get around and increases their chances of early death.
In 2000, the total direct cost of all fall injuries for people 65 and older exceeded $19 billion. The financial toll for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages, and may reach $54.9 billion by 2020.
Hallmark Health has formed a multi-disciplinary team, made up of registered nurses, physical therapists as well as representatives from the case management, risk management, quality, pharmacy and transport departments, to identify and develop ways to prevent patient falls.
Hallmark Health’s Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital in Melrose have put into practice a protocol that includes hourly rounding with patients and implementation of clear indicators for high-risk patients including bright orange socks, ID bracelets and door magnets. High-risk patients are also admitted to rooms closest to the nurses’ station whenever possible.
Still, educating patients on fall prevention goes beyond the four walls of the hospital. Hallmark Health is committed to providing patients and their families with strategies and tips they can use at home too.
A brochure is being developed for high-risk patients to take home with them. The brochure will have helpful information for preventing falls including removal of scatter rugs, installing grab bars next to the toilet and in the tub and making sure emergency phone numbers are posted and easily accessible.
“At Hallmark Health we are committed to providing the highest quality health care to each and every one of our patients,” said Karen Costigan, RN, BSN, director of medical five telemetry at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital. “Preventing falls is a big part of that mission and something we take very seriously.”
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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford; Melrose Wakefield Hospital, Melrose; Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham; The CHEM Center for MRI, Stoneham; Hallmark Health Medical Center, Reading; Hallmark Health VNA and Hospice, Malden; Lawrence Memorial/Regis College Nursing and Radiography Programs, Medford and Hallmark Health Medical Associates, Inc. Hallmark Health is affiliated with Massachusetts General Hospital for cardiology and Tufts Medical Center for neonatology.