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U-M Health System earns safety award for fall prevention among dialysis patients

Approach could serve as cost-saving model for dialysis centers nationwide

The University of Michigan Health System has earned a national patient safety award for its successful approach to fall prevention among hemodialysis patients.

The Renal Physicians Association will present the 2011 End Stage Renal Disease Patient Safety Improvement Award to UMHS March 19 in Washington, D.C., in recognition of a dramatic reduction in falls at Michigan Dialysis Services, an outpatient dialysis treatment center.

Michael Heung, M.D.,Jonathan Segal, M.D.,Therese Adamowski, R.N., and Preeti N. Malani, M.D.,from the U-M Divisions of Nephrology and Geriatric Medicine, authored a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology detailing the safety approach.

After formal staff education and environmental modifications, such as installing lift devices and an in-ground scale for post-dialysis weighing, falls dropped by 70 percent. Only three falls were reported among patients and staff in a 21-month follow-up period.

The outpatient dialysis environment can be fraught with potential hazards such as loose blood tubing lines, wet floors, and oversized reclining hemodialysis chairs.

Still few studies have focused on fall prevention and the U-M is among the first to present a successful strategy for decreasing fall risk in the dialysis patient population.

Fall-related injuries contribute to patient mortality and are associated with substantial health care costs. The U-M strategy could serve as an effective, cost-saving model for dialysis centers nationwide.
 

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