Healthcare facilities are taking a closer look at their fall prevention and safety interventions, particularly in light of staff shortages and burnout in key areas such as, the ER and ICU departments. Traditionally, hospitals and facilities have turned to sitters – or observation assistants – to observe individual patients around the clock as a way to prevent hospital falls or patient harm to self or others.
However, recent research has found it isn’t necessarily the most effective in preventing incidents and at the same time, they are expensive and rarely reimbursed. Research has shown that hospital sitter programs cost hospitals from $500,000 to over $2,000,000 annually, and these costs are steadily increasing. In addition, the use of a traditional 1:1 sitter program is not supported by a substantial body of clinical evidence.
Do Patient Sitters Prevent Falls?
Research including 75 Pennsylvania hospitals found a statistically significant correlation between lower fall rates and the use of patient sitters through the implementation of a Hospital Sitter Program, and specific program design elements.
A comprehensive review of literature including articles published between 1995-2013 found that utilizing patient sitters to reduce fall rates showed inconsistent results. Overall, research suggests that despite the widespread adoption of the use of sitters as an intervention, there is conflicting evidence that supports it as an effective and proven fall prevention method.
Cost-Effective Alternatives to Sitters.
The significant costs and risks associated with patient safety alongside an increased focus on quality has spurred new, innovative solutions – namely, e-sitter programs. The use of video-monitoring has been carefully examined as a more cost-effective alternative to direct monitoring with patient sitters:
- In a recent study, one hospital showed significant decrease in costs without an increase in patient falls or self-harm events when video monitoring was used, realizing over $500,000 in cost savings annually. The study concluded that video monitoring was less expensive than sitters and did not impose a patient safety risk for falls or self-harm.
- Research published in Rehabilitation Nursing found that after the implementation of a video monitoring solution, the reduction in falls hospital-wide was statistically significant, as was cost savings by reducing 1:1 sitter usage. In one year, the hospital saved roughly $186,120 on sitters.
- A study published by the Health Research & Educational Trust showed a 27% reduction in overall falls, and a whopping 59% reduction in falls with injury through the use of an e-sitter solution.
In conclusion, the cost savings associated with the reduction in staff, due to the implementation of video monitoring, allows hospitals to realize ROI more rapidly.
How it works.
In-room cameras provide real-time, continuous visibility to trained clinical and/or non-clinical staff who can observe patient rooms on multiple monitors, increasing the number of patients that one caregiver can monitor. This not only relieves hospitals of the strain of 1:1 sitters but has proven as an effective and more cost-friendly solution:
Cross Country Healthcare has partnered with Wachter Healthcare Solutions to offer a powerful end-to-end remote patient observation technology and staffing solution to help hospitals build or enhance their fall prevention programs. With Wachter’s industry-leading platform NOVA and each trained observation technician provided by Cross Country, up to 15 patients can be monitored remotely from a secure location.
The system provides unified real-time communication and notifications with patients and staff, measurable and customizable patient auditing tools and reporting, reliable real-time monitoring for quick interpretation and health decisions, and seamless data integration across multiple clinical systems.
To learn more about our e-sitter solution, contact us today.