Contact: Karen Gainey, Marketing Coordinator
Phone: 910-291-7550 FAX: 910-291-7996

September 30, 2009

Scotland Memorial Hospital celebrated the reduction of falls in hospitalized patients with a spectacular skydiving demonstration by the Black Daggers today.
Last year, Scotland Memorial Hospital began to see a slight rise in the number of falls in hospitalized patients. Falls that result in injury lead to hospital-acquired complications, increasing the cost of care and length of the patient's stay.


Pictured with the Black Daggers are: (left to right) Sharon McGinnis, Kathy Watson, Willie Mae Dockery, Brenda Covington, and Donna Clark. (Not pictured: Nannette Lapid and Delores Bennett.)

Making the reduction of hospitalized patient falls a priority, Scotland Memorial's Falls Prevention Team, assisted by Sharon McGinnis, Director of Quality, worked on a plan to reduce, and ultimately, eliminate falls. After reviewing data it was determined that the highest volume of falls happen on the Progressive Medical and Third Medical units. These departments were challenged to reduce their falls rate by at least half.

The team with the greatest reduction in patient falls for the months of July, August and September is Progressive Medical, which reduced the number of falls during the challenge months by fifty percent.

Mrs. McGinnis thanked Scotland Memorial Foundation's staff and board members for providing the funding for the gift certificates to Paraclete for winning team members: Kathy Watson, Donna Clark, Brenda Covington, Willie Mae Dockery, Nanette Lapid, and Delores Bennett. These six team members may select a "jump buddy" to experience with them a Safe Fall at the Paraclete XP Indoor Sky adventures, the skydiving training facility in Raeford.

Greg Wood, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated at the award ceremony that nothing is more important than that we take care of our patients safely. "This is what they expect, what they deserve and, thanks to many here today, it's what they get. We have demonstrated our commitment to recognize opportunities for improvement. Thanks to Sharon and her Falls Prevention Team members for this very special celebration today to recognize our success."

Mrs. McGinnis says sustaining the decreased number of falls will be the work of Scotland Memorial's Falls Team and the nursing staff. "In collaboration with the North Carolina Hospital Association we are moving toward standardizing falls prevention practices. We've implemented a universal "yellow" armband to serve as visual reminders to all staff that have contact with patients who are at high-risk for falls. We also plan to implement an easier assessment tool specific to adult and pediatric patients, which will ultimately simplify the assessment and documentation process for our patient care team. We intend to spread these changes to the outpatient settings as well."

The hospital nursing staff assesses patients daily to evaluate their risk for falls and other safety concerns. "We believe that the key success factors here have been the increased frequency of patient interaction by conducting management rounding, safety huddles and patient care team specific hourly rounding," Mrs. McGinnis noted. "The staff is challenged to be creative in the prevention of falls, as every patient is different, so engaging the other members of the care team, the patients and their family members in a greater way has helped to ensure patient safety throughout their hospital stay."

The Black Daggers are the official U.S. Army Special Operations Command Parachute Demonstration Team. Their mission is to perform live aerial demonstrations in support of Army Special Operations community relations and recruiting. Comprised of volunteers from throughout Army Special Operations the Black Daggers have diverse backgrounds and are skilled in various military specialties including Special Forces, Rangers, civil affairs, psychological operations and signal and support. The team represents the professionalism and dedication of special operations forces.

For additional information about the prevention of falls in hospitalized patients, contact Sharon McGinnis at 910-291-7595.

Scotland Health Care System is a community owned, not-for-profit health care system located in Laurinburg, North Carolina. The 154-bed system is comprised of the 104-bed Scotland Memorial Hospital, The 50-bed Edwin Morgan Center, Scotland Memorial Foundation, and Hospice of Scotland County. The Health Care System also owns and operates four primary care facilities, a general surgery practice and an ob/gyn practice.

With more than 1,000 employees, Scotland Health Care System is Scotland County's largest, non-governmental, private employer. Its medical staff includes 67 physicians representing many medical specialties. Scotland Memorial Hospital is ranked in the top ten percent in North Carolina for Surgical Care. In 2008, the Health Care System contributed more than $8 million in charity care to the community.

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