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NewYork-Presbyterian advances newborn safety

Fall harm and fatality are typically associated with geriatric patients, but newborn falls do occur, causing devastating emotional trauma to parents and healthcare staff, additional costs and legal concerns. In 2018, the NewYork-Presbyterian system set a goal to eliminate newborn falls across the enterprise.

Important couplet care best practices such as breastfeeding promotion, skin-to-skin contact and rooming-in are essential but may present a challenge to ensuring the safety of the newborn. To promote newborn fall safety, NYP implemented a variety of methods. These included:

  • room signage throughout the maternity service;
  • staff, family and ancillary services education;
  • a homegrown risk assessment policy; and
  • medical record content and near-miss event capture and tracking.

Additionally, a multimodal monitoring tool completed by service leaders assessed patient and staff knowledge, signage visibility and adherence to the risk assessment in the medical record.

Due to these changes, newborn fall events were reduced by 64% over a 16-month period across the enterprise. NYP also learned that a newborn fall risk assessment can standardize the approach to fall prevention among the health team, and all NYP employees interfacing with families on the maternity service are more aware of the risk of newborn falls.

For more information, contact Linda Gibbons, MS, RN, NEA-BC, nursing director, obstetrical and burn services, at lquintil@nyp.org or 646-697-1668, or Stacey Richards, MA, RN, C-ONQS, C-EFM, CPPS, perinatal patient safety nurse, at str9038@nyp.org or 212.305.3167.