Patient Falls in a Long Term Care Facility


Organizations have different ways of finding the best way to solve their problems. The medical industry is one that requires very close observations. The nursing career needs hospitals to provide the best environment for completing tasks. One of the ways to do this is through hourly rounding. The 48 bed Retirement Community at Mercer Island in the Northwest of United States is the place where the research took place. The project leader appointed unit leaders to help carry out the study. The two units included the Apple unit and the Tulip unit. They provided information that would lead to the transformation of the hospital. The patients and the nurses cooperated during the research. The results showed that hourly rounding is the best way to reduce the elderly falls and the amount of call lights and bed alarms. Patients would always expect a nurse or physician within an hour during the day. They would also expect them within two hours at night.

Introduction and Background

In most healthcare organizations one of the most commonly reported causes of injuries for the elderly is accidental falls. Every year, one-third of elders suffer ground level falls (, 2015). The CDC estimates that approximately 734,000 elderly individuals go for hospitalization each year as a result of falls. About 2.4 million dollars of health care money are spent on treatment of the fall-related injuries and complications.

Covenant Shores had experienced 168 falls within its skilled nursing facility during the past 15 months and had a desire to decrease that number. The facility Director of Nursing (DON) with the collaboration of the Doctor of Nursing (DNP) students are interested in implementing Evidence-Based Interventions to decrease the incidence of falls and improve patient safety and quality of care. One intervention that has been effective in reducing falls is hourly rounding (Timothy, 2015). The purpose of this quality improvement project is to implement an Evidence-Based hourly rounding in the long term care facility with the goal of decreasing the incidence of patient falls.

Literature Review

Effective nurse rounding helps to manage patient expectations, provides necessary service recovery, promotes quality care, and recognizes exceptional caregivers and role model behavior (Hancock, 2014). As patient safety has become an increasingly important issue in healthcare, nursing’s role in contributing to safety initiatives has grown as well (Timothy, 2015). Putting patients first demands more than just clinical expertise, it also requires demonstration of caring and compassion for every patient we encounter (Hancock, 2014). Patients would love to know that someone is watching over them and genuinely cares while they are under the custody of a medical facility.

Hourly rounding is “a systematic, proactive nursing intervention designed to anticipate and address the needs of hospitalized patients.” According to the evidence, effective hourly rounding can promote patient safety, foster team communication and improve staff’s ability to provide efficient patient care (Culley, 2008). Many studies have demonstrated that hourly rounding, if correct, can promote quality, safety, and satisfaction. The researchers consider it an evidence-based nursing practice (Timothy, 2015).

Goldsack, Bergey, Mascioli & Cunningham, (2015) examined hospital fall rates, call light usage, and patient satisfaction. The article also showed how the hospital fall rate had decreased in between 1.73 and 3.37 per 1000 patient beds. By means of computerized data retrieval, project leaders had estimated the call light usage rate within a 2-week period – it amounted to between 2,237 and 4,223 individual uses of the call light. About 58% of these call lights were requests regarding personal needs, comfort related issues, changes in position, bathroom breaks, requests for pain control medicines, but most of all because of accidental falls. The hourly rounding had addressed almost all the questions. The numbers show that there should be a lot of opportunities to improve patient care and speed in response to the implementation of hourly rounds. Further research showed that 25% of discharged patients report dissatisfaction with the hospital services. Their dissatisfaction is about the number of call light requests and the response time that it takes to cater for the patient’s needs. If only enough number of nurses did their hourly rounds, patients would not have any reason to use the call light; since they would know that the nurses would attend to them within an hour.

Practice Change-Hourly Rounding

Hourly rounding is the monitoring of patient’s positioning, pain level, personal needs and proximity to individual items (Timothy, 2015). Doctors and nurses do it at the bedside with specific intervals of 60 minutes. The study shows that there is enough proof through various types of research to show that Hourly rounding is an effective way of reducing patient’s falls. It also leads to the increase in patient satisfaction and decrease acquired pressure ulcers. Hourly rounding would be conducted in the facility to offer or improve patient care and help reduce the amount of falls (Roszell, Jones & Lynn, 2009). It is a quality improvement project. Its goal is to implement successfully the hourly rounding in the 48 bed Mercer Island facility for the long term. The facility in Washington would help decrease incidents of falls, improve patient safety and reduce pressure alarm use.

Purpose and Objectives

The purpose of the proposed quality improvement project is to introduce hourly rounding in a long term care facility. It would help reduce the rate of falls and bed alarms use (Timothy, 2015). The particular aims of the project are to:

  1. Decrease the occurrence of falls.
  2. Reduce the alarm use.
  3. Improve patient satisfaction


Phase I

The management selected the project for the long-term care facility after facility administrator had noticed the increase of the incidences of falls and alarm use. The hourly rounding project is intended to decrease amount of falls and call light utilization in the facility. All the activities will take place at the 48 bed Retirement Community at Mercer Island in the Northwest of United States.

The analysts obtained permission from the faculty chair, committee members, Director of nursing and facility. The project management informed the patients and staff about the implementation of hourly rounding. The project leader selected two project champions (1 RN and 1 CNA) who would be responsible for monitoring the progress and would lead all the activities of implementation of hourly rounding.

Due to staff challenges and short staffing, substitute approach in staff education was the best flexible solution. CNAs, mostly working in Apple, were required to attend a (20-30 minutes) hourly rounding training. The project leaders were responsible for explaining the hourly rounding and had to show how they would conduct the hourly rounding. After training, those CNAs who completed the training, qualified for the modified competence checklist to check their competence. The project leaders also gave the checklists to staff (Timothy, 2015). The project leader followed the StuderGroup guidelines to complete the hourly rounding staff education. The project also adopted and used the modified hourly rounding competence checklist from StuderGroup for staff competence.

Phase II

During the fall meeting, Apple unit was selected in order to have pilot study due to the increase in the number of falls. The unit would come up with long-term care patient services. There was the need to collect 14 months Falls data that came from the Risk Watch Database. The project also put together the number of call lights. The leaders modified the hourly round log to meet the facility needs.

Hourly rounding would be conducted from Monday to Sunday from 06:00 to 22:00 and every 2 hrs from 22:00-06:00. The staff would complete the hourly rounding log every time they completed their rounding. The pilot study had taken place for about two weeks to determine if there was any particular change before the project started. The first ten days, the staff would document the number of falls and alarm use. The daily operations would continue as it had been before the project. The weekly hourly rounding meeting took place on Fridays during the stand-up meeting.

The meeting gave the team an opportunity to look into areas of improvement and make the adjustments to meet the goals. After the first week of hourly rounding, the leaders had to modify the hourly rounding log again to meet the facility needs. The record would include the AC- Activities, OR- out of the room and DR- dining room- since the majority of these patients spent time outside the room. DoN, RN, and CNA had to ensure that staff complete hourly rounding log. The pilot period took place for the first two weeks (Timothy, 2015). The first ten days, the group merely checked the falls and staff hourly round logs for complete documentation. The daily operations continued as before the study.

Phase III

The full facility interventions rolled out on the 2nd day of November and continued for at least two months. This phase took two completed rounding logs. The interventions would also include the re-examination of the hourly rounding protocol based on the facility needs. With regards to the hourly rounding protocol, the project leaders saw the need to incorporate a custom-made checklist. They reminded the group that the CNAs were doing their hourly rounds by using the 4Ps. The 4Ps involved assessment of the patient’s Pain, Position- ensure the patient is comfortable, Potty- ask patients if they need to use the bathroom and Possessions- move the phone, call light and other objects within patient’s reach (Timothy, 2015).

After 60 days of implementation of the hourly rounding in the facility, the project used the falls and call lights data to compare with the Risk Watch database. The purpose was to check for any significant reduction of falls and call light use. The measurable outcome would be a record of the fall rate before and after the intervention (Culley, 2008).

The Findings

The study findings showed the fall rate both before and after implementation of the hourly round. The results indicated the measurement as the number of falls per 1000 patients’ days. The project also measured in terms of how the staff complied with the hourly rounding. When the leaders were about to launch the project, they had the baseline results. They indicated that there had been a gradual increase in the number of falls. By the time of initiating the research, the last recorded results showed that there were about 3.5 falls/1,000 inpatient days. Another concern was the rise of the call lights. It was due to the lack of specific control program. Out of this, about 37% resulted in serious injuries. The project leader divided the project into two stages according to the units in the facility. The Apple unit had started the project about 30 days before Tulip unit came in. The pilot period fall rate was 3.3 falls/1,000 inpatient days.

Using computerized data retrieval system, the project leaders revealed that between 1,357 and 3,542 individuals used the call light within the 30 days period. The record was for Apple unit. The Tulip group rate ranged between 1,340 and 4,001. About 60% of these call lights were requests for personal needs, comfort related issues, and change in position. Some of the patients needed the bathroom breaks and pain control medicines. The Tulip unit had 55% call light requests for the same services.

It was the base from which the main research was started. The hourly rounding was the answer to some and most of the complaints. There were excellent indications that there should be a lot of opportunities to improve patient care and speed in response to implementation of hourly rounds.

Another great concern was that 38% of discharged patients reported dissatisfaction with the hospital services to the Apple unit. The Tulip unit had 41% complaints (Hancock, 2014). According to the record in the data and file, their dissatisfaction was about the number of call light requests. They also reported that the nurses or the physicians on duty did not respond to their calls on time. In the next phase, the project would monitor the nurses and physicians on duty for the change in their services after the training. If the project went well then, the patients would not have any reason to use the call light; since they know that they will attract the caregivers’ attention within an hour.

The leaders collected data after the project period. The results showed that Apple unit had the best results of the 20 sheets from the staffs. They picked the sheets randomly. The Tulip unit had 35 sheets. The variation was due to the number of participants and patients. They also picked 25 sheets from the pre and post-project period (Culley, 2008).

Apple unit’s sheets during the project period showed that the Falls dropped to 2.9 falls/1,000 inpatient days. There were 10% falls. It was a drop from 75% falls recorded during the pilot project. The call lights had fallen to 5% in the medium care section and 18% in the intensive care section of the unit. It was a drop from 76% and 95% respectively before the project begun (Hancock, 2014).

Tulip unit had over 3,000 sheets. The leaders chose 35 sheets randomly. The results from the records showed that the falls had dropped to 2.5 falls/1,000 inpatient days. There were 15% falls. It was a drop from over 60% falls when the project started. The call lights had also dropped to 15% in the ordinary care section and 10% in the critical risk section of the unit. The indications showed they had dropped from 88% and 90% respectively (Timothy, 2015).

The staff in the two units also had an opportunity to record their perceptions of rounding and burden. They used the fall meeting to discuss their findings. The leaders allowed them to provide their opinion towards finding solutions to their questions and also helped them to find amicable solutions. The other suggestions that would involve the management decisions would wait for the organization’s official response. The project leaders, along with the nurses, made the statistical analysis from the sheets they had collected. The sheets they used are part of the attachment in this report.

Staff survey data

Apple (N=20) Tulip (N=35)
Impact of patient-centered hourly rounding on patient care overall
Strong negative impact 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Negative impact 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
No impact 1 (6%) 15 (75%)
Positive impact 15 (75%) 16 (45%)
Strong positive impact 4 (0.8%) 4 (1.4%)
Patient-centered hourly rounding as an effective fall prevention strategy
Highly ineffective 0 (0%) 2 (5%)
Ineffective 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
No impact 3 (11%) 1 (10%)
Effective 10 (46%) 15 (45%)
Highly effective 8 (44%) 17 (48.5%)
Impact of patient-centered hourly rounding on overall workload
Significant increase in workload 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Some increase in workload 3 (17%) 9 (31%)
No impact on workload 8 (44%) 11 (38%)
Some decrease in workload 9 (39%) 10 (35%)
Significant decrease in workload 0 (0%) 5 (1%)
Impact of patient-centered hourly rounding on call bell use
Significant increase in call bell use 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Some increase in call bell use 0 (0%) 5 (14%)
No impact on call bell use 3 (15%) 20 (57%)
Some decrease in call bell use 11 (55%) 10 (28%)
Significant decrease in call bell use 6 (30%) 0 (0%)
Recommendation of patient-centered hourly rounding to other units
Recommendation not to adopt 0 (0%) 0 (0%)
Recommendation to adopt 19 (95%) 94 (25%)
No recommendation 1 (5%) 2 (5.7%)

*Some percentages do not add up to 100% due to rounding.

Observed compliance with patient-centered hourly rounding*
Breakdown by unit and shift Total Greeting Toileting Pain Position Other comfort needs Room environment Call bell “Is there anything else I can do for you?” Specified when coming back Number of observations
All 90% 80% 86% 90% 91% 99% 90% 96% 92% 69% 150
Shift Day 88% 75% 90% 90% 92% 99% 86% 98% 95% 65% 60
Evening 88% 81% 81% 91% 92% 96% 94% 95% 86% 60% 45
Midnight 95% 95% 80% 85% 100% 98% 100% 90% 86% 100% 10
Apple 91% 75% 99% 81% 90% 100% 95% 100% 90% 85% 60
Tulip 85% 76% 70% 97% 89% 99% 80% 96% 99% 65% 70
Shift Day Evening Midnight Apple Tulip *As defined.


This research supports that hourly rounding by nurses helps to provide the fast recovery of patients. With this, we propose that all hospitals or facilities that admit patients 24 hours a day should be required to hire enough nursing staff for hourly rounds. If the organization does not have enough resources to hire manpower, they should be able to create a strategic scheduling that would enable their current staff to check on their patients every hour (Culley, 2008).

Statistics are the numbers that don’t lie. They provide the organization with the fundamental truth that can be used to improve the hospital’s vision. Previously, many hospitals had been operating with the ordinary regulations. The 48 bed Retirement Community at Mercer Island in the Northwest of United States had also adopted to the same routine. As the results show, the process made the hospital provide services below average. But after the research, there would be an urgent need to adopt the new system to save lives (Roszell, Jones & Lynn, 2009).

Given the numbers, wherein more and more patients suffer from accidental falls, the hospitals and facilities should immediately conduct a survey on how their customer service is doing. Organizations should start acting fast to help decrease accidental falls and improve customers satisfaction (Culley, 2008).

Apart from the customer service, the hospital should incorporate the Human Resource Department. They can give the best report on the number of staff available. They would also advise on the way forward. It would enable the hospital to assess whether it needed to hire more nurses or to make proper use of the current staff. The changes would need all these expertise and more, because the hospital would need the best plan to take the project to the next level (Roszell, Jones & Lynn, 2009).

The top management would have to sit with the project leaders of this research and the nurses who participated. They would also need some reports and letters from patients who participated in the project (Roszell, Jones & Lynn, 2009). They would be very helpful towards finding the best way to find the new path towards growth.


This study shows that implementing hourly round would help hospitals and their patients in so many ways. It would not only solve the worldwide problem of accidental falls, but it would also help more patients. It would decrease or possibly eliminate light usage and call bed signals. The result would lead to patient satisfaction. The nurses and their supervisors should always carry out the satisfaction scores from patients regularly. The main reason for doing this is to assist the hospital to point out their areas of improvement.

Accident falls are currently a significant problem that the management can easily fix by proper allocation of nursing staff. The solution might sound very simple, but it offers exceptional results. The nurses and the nursing assistants at the 48 bed Retirement Community at Mercer Island in the Northwest of United States should start conducting the hourly patient rounds. The rounds if well managed would help to improve the service delivery to the elderly. The study revealed the number of call lights before the pilot stage. It also showed the results of the call lights after the project phase.

The organization would use these findings to manage the call lights by reducing them to a significant number. It would involve finding the correct number of nurses and their assistants. If the staff number is below the required number, then the project would not be as successful. Hourly rounding is tedious. Therefore, a lot of commitment would be an added advantage.

The nurses and their assistants would have to check the 4Ps. When they do their hourly rounding they would test the pain condition, ask if the patient’s position is correct or if they need changing. They would also ask if the patient needs assistance to visit the washroom and if they can move their possessions. The nurses who leave after a day’s work should take the time to introduce the incoming nurses. When the new nurse takes over, they should introduce themselves and let the patient know that he or she understands what the other nurse has done. They should also make the customer know what they would be doing next so that the patient is psychologically prepared. When the nurses practice the handing over in a smooth way, the patient would feel comfortable knowing that he or she is in good hands.

The nurses should never forget to ask the patient some questions. It is because some patients may not be free to express themselves. The questions may help to make them open up and even be able to discuss some things. For instance, the patients may still be feeling pain after taking medicine. Some may just decide to stay silent thinking that the medicine would work. When the nurses ask questions, they may discover some other ways of lessening the pain.

Reducing the call lights is not something the nurses would enforce by asking the patients not to call. They would solve it indirectly. Their constant availability would make the patients patient for a little while. It is because they know someone would attend to them shortly.

The nurses would also document their hourly rounding. They would always record the logs to show their duty responses. They can also use the call lights logs to see how far the calls have gone down. They would use the records they get to compare with the previous records before the project begun.

The new results show significant improvements. The hourly rounding has reduced patient falls in the hospital. Previously, patients developed pressure ulcers within the facility. The hourly rounding has made the condition to go down. The patients also started to record the logs to show how they viewed the nurses’ work. Their satisfaction with the services had increased considerably.

Due to the increased quality improvement programs, both the nursing department and the management have an easy task. The hospital administration started rewarding and awarding the nurses according to their service quality. The patients now got a chance to help the management to validate their systems.


Adding enough manpower to be able to implement hourly rounds would help improve the services of hospitals. Having the nurses attend to their patients every hour would reduce bed alarm use. Patients would not have to use their bed alarm knowing that a nurse could be available every hour. At times, this would eliminate the need for bed alarms.

As a patient or a relative of a patient suffering from any illness, one would want the best care and a lot of attention from doctors and nurses. The patients feel a lot better when they know that there is someone or some people who are regularly checking on them. Having introduced the hourly rounding would help nurses provide a safe and efficient patient care. Nurses would not have to rush their services when they need to attend to a fall. It is because they would know that they have a new schedule that supports their rounds. They would easily attend to any problem during the rounds. It would minimize cases that develop into serious and dangerous scenarios resulting from the falls. It then leads to the next aim of implementing hourly rounds, which is to decrease acquired pressure ulcers.

Nurses and doctors already have enough pressure because of the number of patients they have to serve. The hourly rounds would keep the matters in the hospital at a new standard that the management can improve on each time. It would not matter the reason for admission to the hospital. But the nurses would have a reason to be happy with their rounds. It would also lead to that close engagement with the patients. When they come to the beds, they have to introduce themselves and welcome the patient. They also have to ask the patient about how to make them comfortable. The patients would then be very free to share their story. They would also inform their relatives that they in the right hands of very caring doctors and nurses. Relatives and friends would then only wait for their recovery knowing that the patients have all the care they need.

References (2015). Important facts about falls: Home and recreational safety. Web.

Culley, T. (2008). Reduce call light frequency with hourly rounds. Nursing Management (Springhouse), 39(3), 50-52. Web.

Goldsack, J., Bergey, M., Mascioli, S., & Cunningham, J. (2015). Hourly rounding and patient falls. Nursing, 45(2), 25-30. Web.

Hancock, K. (2014). Association for patient experience – From the bedside: Purposeful rounding essential to patient experience. Web.

Roszell, S., Jones, C., & Lynn, M. (2009). Call bell requests, call bell response time, and patient satisfaction. Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 24(1), 69-75. Web.

Timothy, H. (2015). Hourly rounding is an effective patient safety strategy. Web.



  1. July, 2015
Submit Proposal for approval and waiting for SMA approval from the facility
  1. August, 2015
Oral presentation to the committee team
  1. September, 2015
Develop hourly rounding tool (log and 4Ps hits for staff, and In-service education material for hourly rounding.
  1. End September, 2015
Pilot implementation- full 28 days ( full rounding log)
  1. Mid October, 2015
Full Implementation of the Hourly rounding program.
  1. December, 2015
Defend oral presentation and present Executive summary of the Capstone project


  1. Multiple tools (hourly rounding log, staff competence check list and reminder of the 4P’s) adapted from the Sacred Heart System will be used in the facility to sustain the program and new staff training.
  2. An educational material in terms of power point specific to hourly rounding will be developed for new staff training.
  3. Executive summary of the Capstone project to the agency and committee.
  4. Power Point Presentation to the Committee members and facility Director of Nursing.

Hourly rounding tools


Date: _____________ Rm # _____________ Bed # ____________ Day M T W Th F Sat Sun

In chart by exception, note patient need
6 AM
7 AM
8 AM
9 AM
10 AM
11 AM
12 PM
1 PM
2 PM
3 PM
4 PM
5 PM
6 PM
7 PM
8 PM
9 PM
10 PM
12 AM
2 AM
4 AM

Introduce Yourself

For instance:

“Hi, my name is Xy, and I will be your nurse today. I will take excellent care of you. I have discussed your care with your nurse from the last shift and I have the plan for the day.”

Describe Hourly Rounding

“Because we want you to receive an excellent care, we are going to round every hour from 6 a.m to 10 p.m. and every 2 hours from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. We will not wake you if you are sleeping, unless your physician has asked us to do so. During this time, we will check on your pain, your comfort and if you need to use the bathroom. We will also be asking if you need anything moved within easier reach, or have any questions about your care.”

Address the Four Ps

  • Pain – “How is your pain?” Medicate patient or schedule during upcoming rounds.
  • Position – “Are you comfortable?” Move the patient up in bad. Rearrange pillows. Offer extra blankets. Turn patients who are at high-risk for skin breakdown.
  • Potty – “Do you need to use the bathroom?” Assist the patient to the bathroom.
  • Possessions – “Do you need me to move the phone, call light, trash can, water or your bedside table within reach?” Arrange bedside table. Refill water pitcher.

In addition

  • Perform scheduled tasks:
    • MD ordered procedures
    • Give scheduled treatment and/or medication


  • Communicate when you will return. “I, or someone from my team, will be back in about an hour.”
  • Close with Key Words. “Is there anything else that I can do for you? I have time.”
  • Document your round on the Rounding Log in the patient’s room.

Start Date: September, 2015
End of July submit the proposal draft to the project advisory chair for review.
After project review awaiting for feedback
Beginning of the October 2015
Time frame: 2-3 months
End Dec 2015

Submit final proposal draft to advisor chair for review and suggestions July 15th-25th Make adjustments of the project plan after advisory chair recommendations, and prepare the draft to be submitted to the School of nursing committee chairs and Covenant shores DON for their review
Submission of proposal to University of Washington School of Nursing committee chair and Unit manager for review and recommendation ~2 weeks after
August 1st
Fill out required forms and submit to the School of Nursing advisee/advisor agreement
Fills project related foam such as Faculty signed agreement to serve form
Human and Animal subject ( Read and signed)
Submit SMA foam to chair/ Laura and facility for the review
1week of August to 2-3 week month of September Wait for project initiation approval.
Presentation about hourly rounding or Capstone project Mid August Oral presentation about the important of Hourly rounding will be given to Committee chair
Develop a project initial plan based on the facility needs. End of September(start Autumn) 1stweekly meet with student, project champion nurse and CAN and DON to discuss the process implementation and in-service dates for staff training
In service and check staff competence Mid September In-service class will be given to staff implementation of the Hourly round in the facility. Will use Studer Group in service check list to assess staff their competence.
End of September, Start End of September to beginning of the October Pilot hourly rounding will be implemented in the rehab section. After a week or two and make adjustment of the project.
Full implementation of the hourly rounding Mid October Review the staff, patient feedback and read these feedbacks to the staff and DON. Review signing log
Mid quarter meeting to see what is working and what is not- review t Nov Review the Risk Watch data and compare pre and post hourly rounding.
Complete final quarter requirements and submit the application to the for graduation Arrange my final examination with my committee during the quarter in which I expect to complete my project.
Power point presentation of the findings End of Dec 2015 Oral presentation to the members of my Supervisory Committee participates.