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Nurse Wins Award for Preventing Patient Falls at Botsford Hospital

Farmington Hills, Mich. (May 18, 2009)---Developing a fall prevention program for emergency room patients has earned Gwen Stesiak, R.N., a 2009 Safety Excellence Award from Botsford Hospital in Farmington Hills, Mich. She works for Botsford’s ER as its information systems coordinator. Under the "Botsford Red Sox" program, at-risk patients are given red slippers to wear, a tool that helps communicate this risk to all caregivers. 
 
Of the approximately 60,000 patients arriving each year at Botsford Hospital’s emergency room, about 3,000 are at risk of falling according to Stesiak, a resident of Grosse Ile, Mich. A fall can change a person’s life. If the person is elderly, a fall can lead to disability and a loss of independence. If the faller’s bones are fragile from osteoporosis, the person could break a bone, often a hip. 
 
“Emergency nurses at Botsford Hospital rely on their extensive training and keen intuition when determining a patient’s fall risk,” says Marge Hasler, R.N., Botsford’s vice president and chief nursing officer and chair of the hospital’s Safety Board. “Gwen’s idea of placing red slippers on patients works, because it makes everyone immediately aware to take precautions.” 
 
ER patients are considered at risk if they meet at least two criteria: age 70 and older; cannot walk unassisted; dependant on a cane or walker; elderly with lower extremity injury; fallen within 30 days; appear confused, dizzy, light-headed or disoriented; have impaired eyesight, hearing or mobility; alcohol over-consumption or withdrawal; or taken certain medications, such as tranquilizers. 
 
While the red slippers help to quickly alert Botsford Hospital’s staff about a patient’s fall risk, notes are made in the patient’s electronic medical record, which gives specific risk details. The protocol that nurses follow for at-risk patients includes raising the siderails on the patient’s bed, placing the call button close to the patient’s hand, explaining the fall risk to both the patient and his or her family members, and reminding the patient to call for assistance when needing the bathroom.

ABOUT BEAUMONT HEALTH
Beaumont Health is Michigan's largest health care system, based on inpatient admissions and net patient revenue. A not-for-profit organization, it was formed in 2014 by Beaumont Health System, Botsford Health Care and Oakwood Healthcare to provide patients with the benefit of greater access to extraordinary, compassionate care, no matter where they live in Southeast Michigan. Beaumont Health consists of eight hospitals with 3,337 beds, 168 outpatient sites, nearly 5,000 physicians and 35,000 employees and about 3,500 volunteers. In 2015, the organization had $4.1 billion in net revenue with 177,934 inpatient admissions, 17,151 births and 530,860 emergency visits. For more information, visit beaumont.org.

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