1. Purviance, James RN, CCRN, CNRN, BSN, MBA

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A: One tool that we've had great success with in helping reduce falls on my neurology inpatient unit is the safety calendar. The safety calendar mimics the "No Injuries Since" calendar used at construction job sites or labor factories. Our calendar is printed on plain letterhead with simple text: "Safety Calendar-No Falls Since Date." The staff is made aware of the calendar and its importance. Staff members are told that reporting is required and nonadherence to reporting is closely monitored. After 1 month of no patient falls, staff members are rewarded with a pizza party.

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We implemented the safety calendar in the Neuro Care Center because despite having several fall prevention tools in place, including bed alarms on every bed, chair exit alarms, and patient sitters available for known patient fall risks, we continued to have a high rate of patient falls. Our goal for the safety calendar was to increase the staff's awareness of the need for patient safety, including a decrease in the number of patient falls, using a unique tool that wouldn't add to the overwhelming amount of daily communication our nurses face, such as e-mails, required electronic staff development sessions, flyer handouts, poster presentations, unit presentations, and meetings. Various units at our facility had experimented with unicommunication policies (only one form of communication with the staff such as e-mail) with low success. Given the large amount of communication necessary to keep nurses up-to-date in the hospital setting, we found multiapproach communication (such as a combination of e-mailing, posting flyers, and making announcements) works best for our facility. The safety calendar seemed like it would stand out from all the rest.


Since implementing the safety calendar, patient falls on the unit have decreased. We were only a few days shy of making the first month without any falls. And staff members now understand the importance of falls prevention and embrace the awareness of increased patient safety.

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