Risk managers should address patient falls


Injury from patient and visitor falls continues to be a source of professional and general liability claim activity that challenges and frustrates risk management and patient safety professionals across the continuum.

While not always the most significant claims on the organization’s books, there are still many of these events that result in debilitating fractures, neurologic damage, and death.

That is the view of Ann Gaffey, senior vice president, risk management and patient safety for Sedgwick and Jayme Vaccaro, director, professional liability claims at Sedgwick, writing in the autumn edition of Healthcare Risk Management Review.

“When considering the financial loss an organization can experience from Medicare non-payment of hospital-acquired conditions (HACs) associated with falls (fracture, dislocation, intracranial injury, and more), this patient safety issue must remain top-of-mind,” they write.

These significant findings are enough to move any risk management and patient safety professional into high gear to evaluate their existing fall prevention programs.

“The need to take a closer look at which risk reduction initiatives are working and which are not is evident,” they write.

They add that Medicare’s position of not paying for an injury that could reasonably have been prevented through the application of evidence-based guidelines should motivate risk management and patient safety professionals to benchmark facility practices against those supported by strong clinical evidence. 

To read the full article, look out for the Autumn edition of Healthcare Risk Management Review, out soon.

patient falls, risk management, liability, Sedgwick