Deaths and Injuries Rise in Minn. Hospitals Mainly Due to Falls

By KBJR News 1

Deaths and Injuries Rise in Minn. Hospitals Mainly Due to Falls

January 31, 2013 Updated Jan 31, 2013 at 11:15 AM CST

St. Paul, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- The number of deaths and injuries rose in 2012 in Minnesota hospitals, however health experts say that it is mainly due to a rise in serious falls.

There were 14 deaths in 2012 compared to five in 2011 and 89 serious injuries compared to 84 in 2011.

While most of this increase was due to a higher number of serious falls, deaths related to suicides and elopements also increased slightly.

"This year's report shows that as a state we really need to redouble our efforts to reduce falls in hospitals," said Minnesota Commissioner of Health Dr. Ed Ehlinger. "While falls in health care settings can be very difficult to prevent, we also need to look at all opportunities to prevent injury when falls do occur, by focusing interventions on each patient's specific risk factors."

According to the report, in 2012 hospitals did a better job of identifying patients at risk for falling and checking on them at frequent intervals, however, health experts say that there is still work to be done in terms of creating tailored plans for each patient and sharing a patient's risk for falling with every member of the care team.

Patients also need to be aware of the dangers of moving around without assistance.

However, the annual report from the Minnesota Department of Health suggests that the number of adverse health events in hospitals across the state stayed flat in 2012 compared to the year before.

The number of total bedsores declined by 8% with 130 reported in 2012 and 141 in 2011. Retained foreign objects declined by 16%. Medication errors dropped by 75% from the previous year and were at the lowest level in all nine years of reporting.

The Department of Healths says that this report outlines the steps that need to be taken to improve patient safety in Minnesota hospitals.

Posted to the web by Krista Burns