More rounding means better fall compliance

Two years of the Fall Prevention -- Safety Monitor Volunteer Program at Hartford (CT) Hospital have yielded significant results, says Christine Waszynski, APRN, a geriatric nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist in the geriatrics program. (See the charts above and on p. 20.) In addition to reducing falls 46%, analysis of the bed check results shows these findings:

• There is a relationship between the frequency of volunteer rounding and the degree of staff compliance. The more often the volunteers visit, the better the staff complies with the fall prevention protocol.

• Nurses welcome the volunteers, seeing them as an extra set of hands to help with monitoring they don't have enough time to complete. Volunteers report that nurses thank them for helping keep patients safe and helping them do their jobs better.

• Staff members report that the volunteer rounding helps remind them to follow the fall prevention protocol at all times. Units even had unofficial competitions to see who could achieve 100% compliance more than the others. Staff sometimes use the volunteers' checklist to conduct their own fall safety rounds.

• The program gets high marks from volunteers, patients, and family members. Volunteers can see the results of their work and feel appreciated by the staff. Patients and family members are thankful that the hospital is looking out for the patient's safety.