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Windom Area Hospital Earns Patient Safety Excellence Award

Windom Area Hospital has earned a Minnesota Hospital Association Patient Safety Excellence Award for its work on preventing patients from falling during hospital stays through the SAFE from FALLS initiative. The award is given to teams achieving more than 90 percent of the actions in the SAFE from FALLS Roadmap to a Comprehensive Falls Prevention Program.

Patient safety is a top priority for Windom Area Hospital and other Minnesota hospitals. Because of this, Windom Area Hospital joined the SAFE from FALLS initiative, where Minnesota teams are working collectively on implementing the SAFE from FALLS roadmap.

“The roadmap combines learning from reported events in Minnesota and national best practices to preventing patients from falling and helping patient safety initiatives succeed,” says Bruce Rueben, president of the Minnesota Hospital Association. “It is an extremely detailed list. That Windom Area Hospital was able to implement more than 90 percent is outstanding.”

“Our staff has worked very hard to prevent patients from falling,” says Windom Area Hospital Administrator, Gerri Burmeister, FACHE. “We have installed patient lift systems, created a patient safety committee, and provide on-going training on patient safety initiatives. Our staff’s commitment to patient safety is truly commendable, and they can be very proud of this accomplishment.”

Sidebar: The SAFE from FALLS Initiative

Implementing the SAFE from FALLS roadmap involves many steps:
S – Safety coordination. Hospitals create policies and committees to support the initiative.
A – Accurate and concurrent reporting. Hospitals develop and implement data tools to allow them to accurately measure the problem and learn from what happened.
F – Facility expectations, staff education and accountability. Hospitals train and evaluate staff on a variety of falls prevention methods.
E – Education for patients and families. Hospitals create materials in lay language to help patients prevent falls in the hospital and while at home.
F – Fall risk screening. Hospitals develop processes for screening all patients.
A – Assessment of risk factors. Hospitals develop comprehensive, multidisciplinary ways to assess and treat patients at risk.
L – Linked interventions. Hospitals develop and evaluate individualized, multidisciplinary care plans that involve patients and their families.
L – Learn from events. Hospitals analyze falls to find ways to improve.
S – Safe environment. Hospitals examine the environment (flooring, equipment, etc.) to determine whether changes may help prevent falls.

For more information about the SAFE from FALLS campaign, visit the Minnesota Hospital Association Web site at Or, contact Windom Area Hospital’s Director of Patient Care, Kari Witte, at 831-2400.

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