ALBANY -- Following up on a campaign to help reduce patient falls, officials with Phoebe Putney Health System say "Get a Grip" has been successful thus far.
The professional affairs committee for Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital, made up of medical staff representatives and members of the hospital's board of directors, has the task of not only reviewing possible physician recruits -- but also looking at quality initiatives.
The quality initiative side of the committee's most recent meeting on Monday was a follow up on the falls reduction initiative launched at Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Phoebe North earlier this year called "Get a Grip."
While not able to cite specific figures, officials say the program has been successful so far in reducing the number of patient falls since it kicked off in April.
"Nobody wants an unnecessary fall," said Joe Austin, chief operating officer for the health system. "We sit down and have a conversation with the patients and their families. We want to make sure (fall risk patients) use the call button (for assistance).
"We make sure patients are aware and that staff are aware of fall risks. If both populations are aware, it greatly reduces the number of falls."
At a hospital board meeting in March, Thomas Calabro, patient safety officer for the health system, said Phoebe was within the range or better of the current industry leader benchmark, which is 2.5-3.5 falls per 1,000 patient days.
The ultimate goal was to get Phoebe amongst the top 10 percent of hospitals in the country with regard to patient safety. When the campaign was introduced, staff rounds were expected to be used as an opportunity to ask a patient about restroom needs, positioning, pain or needed retrieval of objects -- considered to be the main causes of patient falls.
The campaign has included fall prevention tips throughout the hospital and in public service announcements as well as in various publications and on Phoebe's website, identifiers for falls risk patients and new tools to assess a patient's fall risk.
On the recruitment side at Monday's meeting, there were 10 staff applicants being considered for employment -- including five emergency medicine physicians and two gastroenterology physicians. The specialties of the remaining Phoebe hopefuls are radiology, internal medicine and neonatology.
The committee recommended the group for approval by the full board at its next meeting.