March 12, 2018
Health care worker safety closely tied to patient safety
The number of patient injuries in Minnesota hospitals due to falls continues to rise, according to a report from the Minnesota Department of Health.
Patient falls were the second most common event in the 2017 adverse health events report . Minnesota state law requires hospitals and ambulatory surgical centers to report adverse health events in 29 categories.
While pressure ulcers were the most common event, falls resulted in the most injuries and patient deaths. From October 2016 to October 2017, Minnesota hospitals reported 82 falls, with 77 resulting in serious injury and 5 in patient death.
In health care, patient and caregiver safety go hand-in-hand. When a patient falls, the natural reaction for a caregiver is to try to catch or hold them up. This can result in further injury to both the patient and the caregiver. Lifting and transferring patients, or trying to catch them as they fall, are common sources of strain and sprain injuries.
Based on independent research and SFM's claims data, moving patients manually puts health care workers at risk for severe injuries.
Participate in Patient Safety Awareness Week
Plan ahead for the annual Patient Safety Awareness Week .
During the week, health care professionals and consumers can take a pledge to help reduce harm in health care and join the initiative to help raise awareness.
Stay informed on health care worker safety and how health care professionals can impact patient and worker safety on the Institute for Health care Improvement's website .
Use safety products to promote health care worker safety
Having the right lifting aids and transfer devices available for health care workers to use and making sure they are properly trained in using them can go a long way in preventing injuries in health care settings. Sometimes it can be hard to know what options are available and which ones have the best track record.
For that reason, we put together a list of vendors and safety products we recommend for proper safe patient handling.
SFM's health care safety resources
To support injury prevention for both health care workers and their patients, SFM offers specialized safe patient handling resources. Topics covered include repositioning patients, assisting with bathing, patient falls and lifting injuries in health care. Here are some of our most popular resources for health care:
- Fact sheet: Occupational injuries in health care
- Patient starts to fall Supervisor Initiated Training
- Health care Supervisor Initiated Training combo pack (packet of 16 different topics)
See the full list of SFM's resources for health care in the "Safety" section of our website.