Oncology Nursing Forum
Research has shown that compliance to universal fall protocols can reduce the incidence of falls for the inpatient population. The oncology population is at an increased risk for falls and falls with injuries, making adherence to fall precautions among this population especially crucial to patient safety. In 2020, there was an increase in patient falls and falls with injury at Karmanos Cancer Institute. This came after implementation of new fall protocols the previous year which resulted in a significant decrease in falls during 2019. The purpose of this project was to determine if auditing the compliance of fall prevention protocols would increase nurse compliance and decrease the number of patient falls. An audit tool which included all portions of the fall prevention protocol was developed to assess staff compliance with the protocol. The tool included use of a fall safety checklist, documentation of fall safety education, the use of a bed alarm, and presence of all fall safety equipment. Audits were performed weekly on acute care units for patients with a Schmid score of 3 or greater. The audits were completed at various times throughout the day to capture compliance among each shift. Registered nurses were notified of noncompliance in real time, at which point appropriate prevention measures were implemented. The audit data was distributed to leadership for review of compliance and to follow up with staff. Fall rates among inpatients at Karmanos continue to fluctuate as well as compliance with the fall protocol. Leadership noticed that consistent completion of audits correlated with increased compliance to fall protocols and increased staff awareness. After initiation of the fall audits staff members have reported increased active awareness of fall prevention protocols. Due to underlying physiological factors the oncology population is at an increased risk for falls which could result in injury. Fall audits can be an effective way to monitor staff compliance and identify areas of opportunity in a unit’s fall prevention strategies. Compliance to safety protocols has been shown to increase with regular auditing and feedback.
Williams C, Beaver C, Cook C. Auditing: does it increase fall compliance? Oncol Nurs Forum. 2022 Mar;49(2):33.