Increase in falls 'a concern'.
Falls (Accidents) (Prevention)
Medical care (Quality management)
Medical care (Management)
Patients (Care and treatment)
|Publication:||Name: Kai Tiaki: Nursing New Zealand Publisher: New Zealand Nurses' Organisation Audience: Trade Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health; Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 New Zealand Nurses' Organisation ISSN: 1173-2032|
|Issue:||Date: March, 2012 Source Volume: 18 Source Issue: 2|
|Topic:||Event Code: 680 Labor Distribution by Employer; 200 Management dynamics Computer Subject: Company business management|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: New Zealand Geographic Code: 8NEWZ New Zealand|
The best way of improving quality and safety in New Zealand
hospitals is to learn from the serious and sentinel events that occur
each year, according to NZNO professional nursing adviser Kate Weston.
Speaking after the release of the Health Quality and Safety Commission's Making our Hospitals Safer, its report of serious and sentinel events reported by district health boards (DHBs) in 2010/11, Weston said the increase in falls was very concerning. Falls accounted for 52 per cent of all the serious and sentinel events in the year. There were 195 falls reported, up from 130 in the previous year, 85 in the 2008/09 year and 56 in the 2007/08 year. The increase in falls fuelled the overall increase in serious and sentinel events, up to 377 from 318 in the previous year.
"Falls are a direct result of not having enough adequately skilled and qualified nursing staff on the floor to manage the falls risk. Some DHBs, in an attempt to meet budget constraints, have abandoned their policy of providing a special watch for those at high risk of falls," Weston said.
"Falls prevention initiatives should be multidisciplinary but nurses, because they are the health professionals with patients 24/7, have the key role in reducing patient falls. So it is imperative there are enough nurses on the floor to meet patients' needs."
Weston said compelling international evidence showed that when nursing positions were lost, nursing-sensitive indicators such as patient falls, skin tears and pressure ulcers, increased. "We will be monitoring this trend in the Commission's future reports, particularly in relation to the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces Unit's work on care capacity demand management. Essentially, this means having the right number of the right staff in the right place at the right time. When there are enough appropriately skilled staff to provide care and supervision to patients at risk of falls, the number of falls reported by DHBs will undoubtedly decrease," Weston said.
Referring to the other two major causes of serious and sentinel events--clinical management events (29 per cent, N=108) and medication events (seven per cent, N=25)--Weston said that accurate and timely communication among all the health professionals involved in a patient's care was critical to reducing these events.
"NZNO wants to work with the Commission to ensure the quality improvements needed to reduce serious and sentinel events are put in place. This is nurses' business."
More than 2.7 million people are treated in New Zealand public hospitals each year.
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