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Colville hospital honored for patient safety

Courtesy of Providence Health Care
Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville, Washington

The award from the Washington State Hospital Association goes to rural facilities that make significant improvements.

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital in Colville has collected an award from the Washington State Hospital Association for its success in reducing the number of patients who fall.

“In the spring of 2020 we recognized that we were seeing an increase in falls in our acute care unit," said Crystal Harper, Mount Carmel's nurse manager.

Harper says falls are the most common problem in hospitals with 700,000-1,000,000 people in the U.S. taking a tumble each year. Many suffer significant injuries.

She says she and other hospital leaders looked at the industry’s best practices for fall prevention and developed a variety of remedies. For example, they made it easier to identify the people most likely to fall.

“We put everybody, essentially, in yellow. So they have a yellow fall risk outside their door, signage. They have yellow armbands and yellow socks," she said.

Harper says they spread the responsibility for patient safety to everyone who works there.

“We’re a very small hospital here and we really wanted to emphasize the importance of keeping patients safe. Our goal is for safe patient care and so we wanted to hone in on that culture change and that is the driving factor behind it all," she said.

What they did, worked.

“In 2020, during our launch, to 2021, we decreased our falls by 42% and then falls with injuries decreased by 50%. For 2022, we’ve only had four falls this year," Harper said. "It was going so well we shared it with our sister facility in Chewelah, Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital. They were actually able to implement it and go 200 days without a fall, which is just amazing.”

Those results caught the attention of the state Hospital Association, which, this month, gave its Rural Quality Everyday Extraordinary Award to Mount Carmel. Harper says people from other Providence hospitals are also paying attention, asking her how they can implement the new measures in their hospitals.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.