Taking a Stand Against Falls

MCMC improves patient care through public-private collaboration

If you were to visit MCMC’s surgical floor any time soon you might think it was inhabited by avid fans of a certain Boston baseball team. But the bright red socks that are now adorning patient feet are instead part of a new MCMC safety initiative designed to reduce patient falls.

While MCMC already has very few incidences of patient falls, Interim President/CEO Dianne Storby says, “If we can prevent one fall in the future, it is well worth our time.”

To this end, MCMC as adopted the latest in a long line of ideas that have emerged from Partnership for Patients, a nationwide initiative to improve patient care that the hospital has participating in since its inception in 2011.

Most hospital patients are used to taking care of themselves. But groggy after surgery, patients are at a high risk of falling when they get out of bed to do things that normally come easily, like walking to the bathroom or getting something on the other side of the room.

While most hospitals use yellow bracelets to identify patients at high risk of falling, MCMC chose red socks because they are harder to miss.

“Red socks are an easy identifier,” says Erin Dray, MCMC nursing quality coordinator. “If a nurse sees someone with red socks standing, they can say, ‘Hey, can I assist you?’”

The goal of this and other Partnership for Patients program is to reduce preventable, hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and 30-day readmissions by 20 percent. The program gives MCMC and other participating hospitals access to tools that improve patient care, including seminars, webinars, and conference calls where hospital staff can share tips and tricks for success.

The public-private collaboration helped MCMC reduce a variety of hospital-acquired conditions to rates below its peers, according to a report from the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.

“MCMC did better than other hospitals in this partnership program, and all Oregon hospitals, on measures that include patient falls with injury, surgical site infections for abdominal hysterectomy and pressure ulcers,” says Storby.

Also known as bedsores, pressure ulcers are painful wounds that develop when a patient with limited mobility is not rotated by medical staff on a regular basis. To reduce the risk of pressure ulcers, staff screens every patient for bedsores on admission, provides pressure relieving mattress pads for patients at risk of pressure ulcers, and checks on patients at least once every hour.

Other changes include more patient education and advanced certification for staff.

“MCMC works really hard to provide top-notch care,” Dray says. “We may be a community hospital, but we have some excellent resources available to our patients, not to mention a fantastic staff. The number of MCMC nursing staff members who have received certifications for advanced training in their specialty areas is above the national average.”

Participation in Partnership for Patients is voluntary, but MCMC staff was eager to join.

“This is a program that our organization wanted to be a part of,” Dray says. “It’s really about being on the leading edge of healthcare practices.”

Storby says she is pleased with the report giving MCMC high scores for its safety standards.

“Our entire staff is committed to serving patients in an environment that promotes wellness, healing, safety and health,” she says. “I am so proud that this report shows they are doing an outstanding job of meeting this critical goal.”

The numbers below relate to the number of incidents per 100 patients admitted to MCMC, other Partnership for Patient (PFP) hospitals and all Oregon hospitals in five key areas. MCMC had no hospital-acquired conditions in four of the five areas and was well below other hospitals in fall rate.

Falls With Injury

MCMC Rate: 0.39
All PFP Rate: 0.6
All Oregon Rate: 0.8

Obstetric Hemorrhage — Massive Blood Infusion

MCMC Rate: 0.0
All PFP Rate: 3.4
All Oregon Rate: 2.2

Pressure Ulcer (bedsores)

MCMC Rate: 0.0
All PFP Rate: 1.5
All Oregon Rate: 0.6

Surgical Site Infection – Abdominal hysterectomy

MCMC Rate: 0.0
All PFP Rate: 1.6
All Oregon Rate: 2.0

Surgical Site Infection — Total Hip Replacement

MCMC Rate: 0.0
All PFP Rate: 1.1
All Oregon Rate: 1.6
*Data from the Sept. 2016 Partnership for Patients Leadership report by the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.