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Reducing the Risk of Patient Falls in Radiology

Last December there was a patient fall in the ED Radiology Department on the University Campus. Although falls are not frequent in our department, we used this incident as an opportunity for the Department to evaluate some of its imaging practices.

A multidisciplinary group of participants from Radiology, Emergency Department, Risk Management and Patient Transport to participate in a Root Cause Analysis (RCA). Members of this group helped identify factors that may have contributed to the patient fall. In this process we also identified areas that we could improve upon. The Radiology Quality & Safety group with assistance from Deb Pellegrino the Diagnostic Supervisor, John Umana our Educational Coordinator and Jessica Stanton a Radiologic Technologist, developed a presentation outlining methods to improve patient safety and fall avoidance while in the imaging department. The training was provided to over 75 technologists during various meetings. The RCA process also identified the lack of safety straps for the ED x-ray rooms. The Department has since purchased these straps and continues to keep our patients safe. 

The educational program developed was presented to the Patient Safety Committee in March and the department was commended on the excellent content and team’s commitment to keeping patients safe. The presentation has been shared with other imaging departments in an effort to reduce patient risk throughout the UMass Memorial Health system.