A Safe Floor Program Protects Your Hospital From Falling, Legal Problems

July 17, 2013


A Safe Floor Program Protects Your Hospital From Falling, Legal Problems

In this day and age, it doesn’t take much for someone to file a lawsuit. Could your reputation as an experienced facilities manager withstand the effect of a successful lawsuit totaling in the millions of dollars for a completely preventable problem like a patch of unsafe flooring in your healthcare facility?

No question, keeping your facility’s floors clean and free from healthcare-associated infections is vitally important. Another crucial part of protecting your health care facility’s floors — no matter how old they are — is protecting them from the patrons, patients and health care workers who travel them every day.

Although no one actually budgets for falls, the numbers are scary. At the top of the list, almost half of all falling accidents are blamed on floors that aren’t clean or safe.

How critical is this problem?

The Joint Commission’s Center for Transforming Healthcare launched the Preventing Falls With Injury project almost two years ago with the goal of preventing patients from falling and sustaining moderate and severe injuries in healthcare environments.

Another reason patient falls in a healthcare facility are so costly: A five-year-old rule by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services prevents hospitals from receiving payments for treating patient injuries caused by falls in their facilities.

And, for hospital employees, the falling news is just as bad, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Falling, tripping and slipping accounted for some 38 lost work days per every 10,000 employees. That’s 90 percent larger than the average for all private industries combined.

Even more upsetting, out of some 1 million people who fall in American hospitals, about a third of these accidents are preventable, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

All of these unsafe numbers aside, your job as a facilities manager in a healthcare environment is to prevent falls as much as possible for patients and workers. A simple, three-step safe floor program can go a long way toward reducing the incidence of falls and protecting your facility from litigation.

  • Doing a deep cleaning not only rejuvenates floors and protects patients and hospital workers but it can restore a facility’s “curb appeal.”
  • Keeping floors safer and cleaner by situating mats in strategic locations, ideally by measuring slip hazard potential throughout the healthcare facility that identifies busy floor zones.
  • Creating a maintenance schedule that ensures floor cleanings are done before and after peak business hours.

For more information about protecting your health care facility with a safe floor program, contact Vanguard Resources.