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Long-term, post-acute care community slashes falls rate

by Bethesda Health Group

Published on 5/22/2018

The care team at St. Louis, Missouri-based Bethesda Health Group found an innovative way to address one of the most harmful problems in long-term and post-acute care: patient falls.

The team at one of Bethesda's communities, Bethesda Southgate, analyzed the falls that previously had occurred. The team developed strategies, using that information, to prevent future falls and improve resident safety.

"During rounds at night, someone might find a resident on the floor, so they have to assess that environment," said Lila Simpson, clinical process and applications coordinator at Bethesda. "What happened? What was the scenario? Was there proper lighting? Were their tissues within reach?"

After implementing PowerChart® LTC in February 2017, Bethesda Southgate's quality measure rating for falls with major injury — used and defined by Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and reported on CMS' Nursing Home Compare — improved by 58.8 percent1. The solution prompts nurses to look for potential fall causes as they complete documentation. Staff also use reporting tools within the solution alongside standardized documentation sets called PowerForms to help identify potential interventions to minimize future falls.

"The way PowerChart is structured and the way the PowerForm is laid out, it leads to more complete and thorough documentation," said Simpson. "It also prompts the nurses — leading them to assess the area, the environment and the residents themselves. By doing so, we could uncover problem areas and eliminate them, which led to a reduction in our falls."

The team at the 192-bed skilled nursing community also used the solution to improve communication and ensure they accurately report fall information to CMS.

"Cerner is so in-tune with CMS," said Simpson. "Cerner is not going to put something in PowerChart that will hurt us with a surveyor."

Simpson and her team credit the tool for helping lower the rate of falls at Bethesda Southgate.

"From the minute this community went onto PowerChart to present, they've had a tremendous fall reduction, and among the reasons for that shift is PowerChart," said Simpson.

1 From 10.14 percent (April 2017) to 4.17 percent (January 2018)

For more information about best practices for long-term care - falls, visit our Model Experience page.

Client outcomes were achieved in respective settings and are not representative of benefits realized by all clients due to many variables, including solution scope, client capabilities and business and implementation models.