Graduate Nursing Student Wins Award for Safety Project

SIOUX FALLS – Jill Rye, a graduate student in the Augustana Nursing Department, received an award at the Avera Quality Congress held in Sioux Falls.

Rye’s entry was in the category designated Avera Caring With Safety – Acute Care Regional Center. She is the Unit Supervisor for Rehabilitation Services at Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center.

The Avera Caring With Safety Awards recognize projects that significantly impact the safety of customers, employees and the earth’s resources. One award is designated in each of the following divisions: a) acute care regional hospitals; b) acute care non-regional hospitals; c) long-term care; and d) community-based care and other Avera entities.

Rye’s project is titled “Interdisciplinary Fall Prevention on the Rehabilitation Unit.” It was her final project in completing her Master’s Degree and was selected for the system-wide competition by Avera McKennan Hospital. Rye also did her undergraduate work at Augustana, graduating in 1986.

"Our patients are amputees, stroke patients, patients with spinal cord injuries, multiple injuries that can cause traumatic brain injuries. All these patients are at high risk for falls so what we do to keep them safe can impact their life, for the rest of their life and make them healthier." Jill Rye on KSFY Action News, Sioux Falls

The issues:
Fall rates on the rehabilitation nursing unit had exceeded the facility’s benchmark for five consecutive months. During this time, two patients experienced injuries due to their falls that required surgical intervention.

The project team trialed, implemented and revised specific evidence-based practice changes related to fall prevention. Patients and families were informed about fall prevention through posters inpatient rooms and education during the admission process and every day. Interdisciplinary communication tools were developed, and several seat-cushion alarms were trialed. A communication fall folder was implemented to communicate action taken regarding all falls. Individual discussions were held with nurses whose patients had repeated falls. Enclosed beds, low beds and seat-cushion alarms were used.

The average number of falls per month has decreased from 7.6 to 3.75. No patient injuries have occurred since the initiation of the fall-prevention program.

Bruce Conley
Director, News Information
Phone: 605.274.5526
Fax: 605.274.4903