Falling Star Program
For the last several years, Saint Mary’s Hospital has adopted a simple yet effective way to help reduce patients’ risk of falling during their hospital stay. The Falling Star program was born in the Critical Care and Telemetry Units, where nurses wanted to find a way to call attention to, or highlight, those patients who were at particular risk of falling. They began to issue to those patients a pair of yellow socks with slip-resistant soles and a yellow fleece blanket. These yellow objects were universally recognized by every staff member who came into contact with the patient, so they would know to take extra care and communicate with the patient to prevent a fall from occurring.
As the program exists today, all patients are assessed upon admission to Saint Mary’s to determine if they are at risk of falling. In addition to issuing yellow socks and yellow blankets to those who are determined to be at risk, staff offer patients and family members brochures with information about the program and post yellow stars outside the patient’s room. This extra attention has helped the hospital to significantly reduce patients’ risk of falling.
Eyes on Prevention
Saint Mary’s Hospital was able to reduce the rate of hospital-acquired infections by 50 percent in one year, significantly enhancing patient safety. This achievement stems in part from a program called “Eyes on Prevention.”
Developed by Saint Mary’s Infection Prevention and Quality Management team, the program was piloted in the Critical Care Unit and is quickly expanding to all patient care areas. The program is carried out by special Infection Prevention coaches, who are on the lookout for good hand hygiene throughout the hospital.
Coaches are hospital staff members who may approach other staff members to talk about infection prevention and good hand hygiene. To keep patients and visitors safe, the staff are encouraged to hold each other accountable for maintaining good infection prevention practices. By simply starting a conversation, the hospital has been able to reduce the risk of infection for every patient, and move closer to its goal of preventing all hospital-acquired infections.