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Virnes R-E, Tiihonen M, Karttunen N, et al. Drugs Aging. 2022;39:199-207.
Preventing falls is an ongoing patient safety priority. This article summarizes the relationship between prescription opioids and risk of falls among older adults, and provides recommendations around opioid prescribing and deprescribing.
Tan J, Krishnan S, Vacanti JC, et al. J Healthc Risk Manag. 2022;Epub Apr 1.
Inpatient falls are a common patient safety event and can have serious consequences. This study used hospital safety reporting system data to characterize falls in perioperative settings. Falls represented 1% of all safety reports between 2014 and 2020 and most commonly involved falls from a bed or stretcher. The author suggests strategies to identify patients at high risk for falls, improve fall-related training for healthcare personnel, and optimize equipment design in perioperative areas to prevent falls.
Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority. Harrisburg, PA: Patient Safety Authority; April 2022.
This report summarizes patient safety improvement work in the state of Pennsylvania and reviews the 2021 activities of the Patient Safety Authority, including the Agency's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, video programs, liaison efforts, publication programs, and the launch of a new learning management system.
Saleem J, Sarma D, Wright H, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:152-160.
Hospitals employ a variety of strategies to prevent inpatient falls. Based on data from incident reports, this study used process mapping to identify opportunities to improve timely diagnosis of serious injury resulting from inpatient falls. Researchers found that multiple interventions (e.g., education, changes in the transport process) with small individual effects resulted in a substantial cumulative positive impact on delays in the diagnosis of serious harm resulting from a fall.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2022. ISBN: 9780309686259

Nursing homes face significant patient safety challenges, and these challenges became more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report identifies key issues in the delivery of care for nursing home residents and provides recommendations to strengthen the quality and safety of care delivery, such as improved working conditions, enhanced minimum staffing standards, improving quality measurement, and strengthening emergency preparedness.
Kwok Y-ting, Lam M-sang. BMJ Open Qual. 2022;11:e001696.
Changes in healthcare delivery and care processes as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic have increased the risk for falls. This study explored the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the implementation of a fall prevention program (focused on human factors and ergonomics principles) on inpatient fall rates at one hospital in Hong Kong. Findings indicate that fall rates significantly increased from pre-COVID to during the first wave of the pandemic (July-June 2020). The fall prevention program – implemented in July 2020 – led to a reduction of fall rates, but not to pre-pandemic levels.
Paulik O, Hallen J, Lapkin S, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e613-e619.
Patient falls are considered a never event and can result in serious injury. This study retrospectively reviewed inpatient falls resulting in injury and the strength of the improvement recommendations proposed after investigation of the event. The researchers classified 8.5% of recommendations as ‘strong’ (i.e., environmental modifications, equipment/process redesign), 35.7% as ‘medium’ (i.e., changing documentation process and/or skill mix, providing education) and 55.8% as ‘weak’ (i.e., alerts or warnings).
Rhodus EK, Lancaster EA, Hunter EG, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:e503-e507.
Patient falls represent a significant cause of patient harm. This study explored the causes of falls resulting in harm among patients with dementia receiving or referred to occupational therapy (OT). Eighty root cause analyses (RCAs) were included in the analysis. Of these events, three-quarters resulted in hip fracture and 20% led to death. The authors conclude that earlier OT evaluation may decrease the frequency of falls among older adults with dementia.
Damoiseaux-Volman BA, Raven K, Sent D, et al. Age Ageing. 2022;51:afab205.
According to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality study, an estimated 700,000 to 1 million hospitalized patients fall each year. This study assessed the impact of potentially inappropriate medications (PIM) on falls in older adults and compared the impact of three deprescribing tools on inpatient falls. PIMs identified by section K of the Screening Tool of Older Persons' Prescriptions (STOPP) had the strongest association with inpatient falls.
Yesmin T, Carter MW, Gladman AS. BMC Health Serv Res. 2022;22:278.
Advanced technology – such as radiofrequency identification (RFID), sensors, or mobile apps – is increasingly used to improve patient safety. This study explored whether the use of “internet of things” (i.e., network of physical objects – “things” – that are embedded with sensors, software or other technology to connect and exchange data with other devices, such as RFID technology) is effective at reducing patient falls and improving hand-hygiene compliance.
Fischer H, Hahn EE, Li BH, et al. Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2022;48:222-232.
While falls are common in older adults, there was a 31% increase in death due to falls in the U.S. from 2007-2016, partially associated with the increase in older adults in the population. This mixed methods study looked at the prevalence, risk factors, and contributors to potentially harmful medication dispensed after a fall/fracture of patients using the Potentially Harmful Drug-Disease Interactions in the Elderly (HEDIS DDE) codes. There were 113,809 patients with a first time fall; 35.4% had high-risk medications dispensed after their first fall. Interviews with 22 physicians identified patient reluctance to report falls and inconsistent assessment, and documentation of falls made it challenging to consider falls when prescribing medications.
Lombardi J, Strobel S, Pullar V, et al. J Patient Saf. 2022;Epub Feb 10.
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically changed healthcare delivery and has raised new patient safety concerns. This retrospective study investigated the impact of the first wave of COVID-19 on patient safety incidents at one health system in Ontario, Canada. Researchers identified significant changes in the composition of events – such as increase in falls – which may reflect changes in care processes (e.g., reduced patient surveillance, use of personal protective equipment) occurring during that time.
Fleisher LA, Schreiber M, Cardo D, et al. N Engl J Med. 2022;386:609-611.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted many aspects of health care. This commentary discusses its impact on patient safety. The authors discuss how the pandemic response dismantled strategies put in place to prevent healthcare-associated infections and falls, and stressors placed on both patients and healthcare workers directed attention away from ongoing safety improvement efforts. They argue that more resilience needs to be built into the system to ensure safety efforts are sustainable in challenging times.
Dempsey C, Batten P. J Nurs Adm. 2022;52:91-98.
Appropriate levels of nurse staffing have been shown to improve patient outcomes. This national study explored the effect of nurse staffing on clinical quality, nurse experience, and nurse engagement. Consistent with earlier research, nurse staffing was associated with improved clinical outcomes.
Montero-Odasso MM, Kamkar N, Pieruccini-Faria F, et al. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4:e2138911.
Fall prevention in healthcare settings is a patient safety priority. This systematic review found that most clinical practice guidelines provide consistent recommendations for fall prevention for older adults. Guidelines consistently recommend strategies such as risk stratification, medication review, and environment modification.
Jomaa C, Dubois C‐A, Caron I, et al. J Adv Nurs. 2021;Epub Nov 30.
Nurses play a critical role in ensuring patient safety. This study explored the association between the organization of nursing services and patient safety incidents in rehabilitation units. Findings highlight the key role of appropriate nurse staffing in reducing the incidence of events such as falls and medication errors
Okpalauwaekwe U, Tzeng H-M. Patient Relat Outcome Meas. 2021;12:323-337.
Patients transferred from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) are vulnerable to adverse events. This scoping review identified common extrinsic factors contributing to adverse events among older adults during rehabilitation stays at skilled nursing facilities, including inappropriate medication usage, polypharmacy, environmental hazards, poor communication between staff, lack of resident safety plans, and poor quality of care due to racial bias, organizational issues, and administrative issues.
Benning S, Wolfe R, Banes M, et al. J Pediatr Nurs. 2021;61:372-377.
Patient falls represent a significant cause of patient harm. While most research on falls focus on the in-patient setting, this study reviewed research evidence and findings from environmental assessments to provide recommendations for reducing risk of falls in the pediatric ambulatory care setting. Three categories of barriers and interventions were identified: equipment and furniture, environment, and people.
Svensson J. J Patient Saf. 2022;18:245-252.
Safety and quality of care for psychiatric patients is a relatively understudied area of patient safety research. This scoping review explores patient safety strategies used in psychiatry. The review identified seven key strategies that rely on staff performance, competence, and compliance – (1) risk management, (2) healthcare practitioners, (3) patient observation, (4) patient involvement, (5) computerized methods, (6) admission and discharge, and (7) security. These strategies primarily target reductions in suicide, self-harm, violence, and falls.