NHS-FPX6004 Healthcare Policy Proposal Paper Sample

Policy Proposal Example Essay

Generally, Mercy Medical Center’s Specialty Operations and Maternity & Deliveries sections improved overall accident incidences between 2015 and 2016. However, falls frequencies in the medical facility’s orthopedic surgery and Obesity Programs units recorded a significant increase in 2016. These accidents are a serious threat to patients’ well-being as well as the medical center’s standards. For this reason, this paper explains the need for policy change at Mercy Medical Center to meet the recommended benchmarks for patient fall mitigation.

NHS-FPX6004 Healthcare Policy Proposal Paper Sample

The proposed change is developing and implementing fall prevention programs throughout Mercy Medical Center to help alleviate fall rates for the orthopedic surgery and Obesity Divisions. This is because the health facility serves a lot of patients from Shakopee; hence reducing injury risks inside the orthopedic surgery and Obesity Divisions is vital. Also proposed is an increase in employee personnel to aid in lowering accident incidence and improving client results.

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Need for Policy and Practice Guidelines

Mercy Medical Center needs to prioritize accidents or fall prevention in its Orthopedic Surgery and Obesity Departments. Miscommunication and understaffing are among the major factors contributing to frequent falls at the medical facility’s Orthopedics and Bariatric Services. Admittedly, preventing patient falls in healthcare facilities is a challenge shared by many health organizations across the country.

The national average fall incidents in United States hospitals range between 3.3 to 11.5 falls per 1,000 patient days (Bouldin et al., 2013). Research has proven that the falls vary considerably by unit or department type, with high incidents recorded in hospitals working with the elderly, surgery, and physically disabled patients (Gygax, 2017).

Mercy Medical Center is among the hospitals with high fall incident rates close to the national average, due to cultural differences and few staff members to attend to patients.

Patient falls in hospitals have a significant negative effect on the patient’s health, which derails their recovery process. The leading causes of high patient fall in hospitals include inadequate monitoring, miscommunication, non-compliance to fall safety protocols and practices, and understaffing (Sentinel Event, 2015). According to Schwendimann, Bühler, and Milisen (2006), patient falls in medical centers often lead to negative outcomes, among them severe injuries, prolonged hospitalization, and legal responsibility to the hospital.

Mercy Medical Center is vulnerable to legal liability due to high patient falls in the hospital’s Orthopedics and Bariatric department. Without proper fall prevention programs in place, accidents in hospitals like Mercy Medical Center are inevitable. Patients’ health should be the priority of any healthcare facility; hence incidents of accidents should be the least of hospitals’ problems.

Other patient characteristics such as age, mental status, severe illness, and the use of ambulation aids also significantly contribute to falls due to the lack of enough healthcare providers at the facility. A policy that requires staff members at the hospital to be vigilant at all times will be successful if the patient-to-health providers’ ratio is balanced. According to the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO), a balanced patient-to-nurse ratio is intertwined with positive healthcare outcomes – both patients and nurses experience success when a safe nurse staffing method is utilized (AFL-CIO, 2011).

Further, high workloads and lack of breaks between works shifts overwhelm healthcare providers to the extent they neglect patients that need close monitoring. Evidently, the prevalence of fall incidents at Mercy Medical Center calls for policy change at the facility, which will see the number of trained staff increase and accidents managed considerably. Patients’ recovery at health facilities depends on the presence of healthcare providers to monitor their progress and prevent possible accidents.

Mercy Medical Center serves a lot of Shakopee patients, with the majority, according to the 2017 U.S. Census, being Caucasians. On the contrary, about 85% of Mercy Medical Center staff are white (U.S. Census Bureau, 2017). Based on this statistics, opportunities for intercultural differences and miscommunication are enormous. Challenges associated with cultural views, linguistic limitations, and interaction can also be linked to the underperformance at Mercy Medical Center.

Therefore, fall prevention programs ought to be implemented in the hospital. In implementing the programs, members of staff should be trained on how strategies to utilize when handling culturally-diverse Shakopee residents. This will facilitate intercultural communication among diverse groups residing in Shakopee and the opportunity to better understand fall prevention strategies.

Policy and Practice Guidelines for Preventing Patient Falls at Mercy Medical Center Incidents of patient falls in hospitals, particularly Mercy Medical Center, pose a serious threat to patients’ health and the hospital’s legal responsibility. This policy will be a guide for healthcare practitioners at the hospital’s Orthopedics and Bariatric department to ensure incidents of patient accidents due to falls are contained. This policy will also apply to nurses and medical staff at medical centers and those working in community healthcare centers. In other words, it is directed to all persons responsible for prescribing and monitoring patient progress in hospitals.

Generally, falls prevention is a difficult and complex exercise. However, the most successful strategies and practices will include utilizing a standardized assessment tool that will identify fall and injury risk factors. The main tools for identifying risk factors for falls include the Morse Fall Scale and Hendrich II Fall Risk Model, integrated into all local, statewide, and national electronic medical record databases (Sentinel Event, 2015). This factor will be implemented in the medical centers to identify possible causes of falls within the facility. This policy proposes that the assessment tool will be a requirement enforceable by the federal government through health departments.

In addition to the assessment tool, an interdisciplinary committee that will comprise a falls injury prevention task force will be formed to conduct visits across hospital premises to assess the status as per the federal government’s regulations. A survey submitted to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) showed that forming a team to assess and establish the capacity of a hospital’s organizational infrastructure and premises to mitigate injury risk from falls is essential (AHRQ, 2021).

Every staff member at the hospital has a responsibility to play, as far as fall prevention is concerned. Primary care providers such as nurses, physicians, and factors such as environmental services, information technology, patient advocacy, pharmacy, physical and occupational therapy will also be incorporated in the assessment framework of the healthcare facility’s ability to alleviate injurious accidents caused by falls.

In line with the interdisciplinary team and establishing a comprehensive assessment tool, this policy also advocates increasing the number of trained staff in the community, state, and national hospitals. This will ensure that nurses and other healthcare providers do not experience burnouts, which is one of the primary contributors to patient negligence and ultimately accidents.

Cornwall (2018) explains that workload and pressure experienced by hospital staff elevate burnout symptoms in the workplace. Therefore the nurse-to-patient ratio in all healthcare facilities, primarily Mercy Medical Center, will adhere to the following ratio; 1:4 for the general medical-surgical ward, 1:3 for an emergency, and 1:2 for critical care units.

Effects of Environmental Factors

The efficacy of the assessment tool established, the interdisciplinary team, and increasing the number of staff as an initiative to reduce patient falls will be affected by some environmental factors. Increased economic activities in Shakopee, such as industrialization, have significantly contributed to health complications to the residents. Remoundou and Koundouri (2009) explain that increased industrialization and energy use are the main drivers of environmental health problems.

For example, an EPA report shows that the Brookhaven development southwest of Shakopee has raised nitrate levels in the water that exceed EPA limits (Sandvold, 2017). With such intoxication to resources, the number of people visiting the facility keeps rising, which will further overwhelm staff working at the hospital even if the number is increased.

Stakeholder Involvement in Implementing Proposed Strategies

The success of the policy will heavily depend on staff members and the leadership at Mercy Medical Center’s readiness to embrace change. The interdisciplinary committee will comprise professionals from various healthcare facilities that are cognizant of relevant patient falls mitigation. Also, leaders such as directors of nursing will be important sources of data required to meet the recommended assessment criteria.


U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Shakopee city, Minnesota. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/quickfacts/fact/table/shakopeecityminnesota/PST045217.

The Importance of the Optimal Nurse-to-Patient Ratio [Internet] Nursing education. 2020. cited 2020 Feb 8. Retrieved from: http://nursingeducationlwwcom/blogentryhtml/2016/11/10/the_importance_ofth-GCAEhtml .

Sentinel Event (2015). “Preventing falls and fall-related injuries in health care facilities.” Joint Commision. Retrieved from https://www.jointcommission.org/-/media/tjc/documents/resources/patient-safety-topics/sentinel-event/sea_55_falls_4_26_16.pdf.

Schwendimann, R., Bühler, H., De Geest, S., & Milisen, K. (2006). Falls and consequent injuries in hospitalized patients: effects of an interdisciplinary falls prevention program. BMC Health Services Research, 6(1), 1-7.

Sandvold, M. D., (2017). “Nitrate levels too high in Shakopee development’s water.” SW News Media. Retrieved from https://www.swnewsmedia.com/shakopee_valley_news/news/nitrate-levels-too-high-in-shakopee-developments-water/article_fa7d842d-9561-5c59-9d2a-2efb807eac99.html.

Remoundou, K., & Koundouri, P. (2009). Environmental effects on public health: An economic perspective. International journal of environmental research and public health, 6(8), 2160-2178.

Gygax Spicer, J. (2017). The Got-A-Minute Campaign to Reduce Patient Falls with Injury in an Acute Care Setting. MEDSURG Nursing, 26(5), 313-326.

Bouldin, E. D., Andresen, E. M., Dunton, N. E., Simon, M., Waters, T. M., Liu, M., … & Shorr, I. (2013). Falls among adult patients hospitalized in the United States: prevalence and trends. Journal of patient safety, 9(1), 13.

AHRQ. (Content last reviewed March 2021). “Preventing Falls in Hospitals.” Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved from https://www.ahrq.gov/patient-safety/settings/hospital/fall-prevention/toolkit/index.html.

AFL-CIO: Department of Professional Employees. (2011). Impact of Nurse-to-Patient Ratios: Implications of the California Nurse Staffing Mandate for Other States. Retrieved from https://dpeaflcio.org/programs-publications/issue-fact-sheets/impact-of-nurse-to-patient-ratios-implications-of-the-california-nurse-staffing-mandate-for-other-states/.

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