WHA quality report highlights efforts to reduce falls, infections

A recent report from the Wisconsin Hospital Association highlights the ways hospitals are trying to drive down rates of patient falls and infections.

At UW Health in Madison, care providers in the neurosciences unit were struggling to reduce rates of patient falls in their high-risk patients. After identifying patients that posed the highest risk, the hospital introduced continuous video monitoring for these individuals with a goal of reducing falls and related injuries 10 percent in six months.

Under the new protocol, technicians monitoring the video streams notified nurses if they observed any behavior that could lead to a fall.

According to the report, patient falls were reduced by 63 percent and falls with injury were reduced by 91 percent.

Other hospitals have reduced their fall rates by implementing training, education and competency programs focused specifically on this issue.

A section of the report on infections finds Wisconsin’s sepsis mortality rate was 17.1 percent in 2018, down from 25.2 percent percent in 2010. Still, a graph in the report shows the sepsis mortality rate ticked up between 2017 and 2018.

To lower rates of infections like sepsis and other microbes, Bellin Health in Green Bay had to reevaluate its processes even after starting an isolation policy to protect visiting family members and other visitors. Bellin had also begun a patient hand hygiene effort, and had started inspecting rooms with fluorescent marking lights.  

But these actions didn’t have much of an effect on infection rates, so hospital administrators had to dig deeper into hospital operations. They found that infections specimens being sent out for testing didn’t always meet certain criteria, leading to over-testing and over-treatment.

Starting in August, Bellin added a new two-step testing protocol, which led to fewer cases of hospital-onset infections and fewer patients taking antibiotics. Since starting this protocol, the hospital has not seen any cases of hospital-onset infection by certain bacteria called CDI that can cause diarrhea.

The hospital recorded just nine hospital-acquired cases of CDI in 2018, less than half the number seen in each of the previous three years. 

See the full report: https://www.wha.org/WisconsinHospitalAssociation/media/WHA-Reports/2018qualityReport.pdf  

–By Alex Moe