The Impact of Hourly Rounding on Falls

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PICO: In older adults, how does hourly rounding impact patient falls compared to bed alarms?

Falls are a major problem in the healthcare as they the leading cause of nonfatal injuries and injury-related hospitalizations in America (Goldsack, Bergey, Mascioli, & Cunningham, 2015). In older adults, over 1800 lives are lost each year due to falls and fall-related injuries and those who survive sustain injuries that can result in permanent disability (Ogundu, 2016). Hourly rounding is increasingly being used in healthcare to promote a safe environment by fostering frequent interaction between caregivers and patients. If this concept can reduce the rate of falls, the risk of accidental injuries will be decreased, and considerable cost-savings can be realized.

In 2015, Hope medical center needed a solution to improve the then bed alarm after it was discovered that they did translate into fewer falls. Even though the alarms were expensive they did not give much return; there was no significant difference in the fall rate or injurious falls. However, after the implementation of hourly rounding, there was an average of 34% reduction in patient falls especially the elderly.

The findings demonstrate that hourly rounding can reduce the number of falls which translates to fewer injuries and considerable cost savings. According to research, the overall cost of fall injuries for the elderly exceeded $19 billion in 2000 (Hicks, 2015). The study also projects that by 2020, the annual cost of fall will exceed $54 billion. These costs are bound to weigh heavily on the patients and their families. As can be seen, hourly responding has a profound impact on older adults, and as such, every effort should be tailored to improving the environment in which the strategy is being used to improve patient safety and satisfaction.