Reducing Hospital Patient Falls

Minnesota Hospital Association

Recognizing that a significant percentage of falls occur during the process of toileting, it is important to understand the configuration of the patient room and the location of the toilet room, and how the patient interacts with the environment.

The Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA) had conducted research and developed the SAFE from FALLS program in 2007. While process improvements and implementation new protocols helped reduced falls, the built environment itself had been overlooked as a potential risk to patients.  MHA contracted with Pope Architects and Michael Graves Design in researching toilet related falls with a focused study on the physical environment of care.

A concept that was derived from the research for an uninterrupted grab bar that creates a bridge from the bathroom to the bed.

Five hospitals of varying sizes and dates of construction were selected by MHA and Pope Architects in the Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota region to participate in this a facility assessment and research study. The Research Study Assessment Tool based off of Falls Environment Evaluation Tool (FEET) developed by Dr. Margaret Calkins was reformatted and tailored in collecting (4) areas of information – General, Patient Room, Toilet Room and Nurse Station data on all of the facilities. On July 14th, 2014 MHA, Pope Architects and MGD met in person to discuss the past and present MHA Fall Study and received approval of the Assessment Tool criteria. July 15th and 16th MHA, Pope Architects and MGD toured the (5) hospitals, and assessed over (19) patient rooms and toilets from semi-private to private, and a variety of unit types. The data was documented utilizing the assessment tool, photography, measurements and floor plan sketches indicating locations of major components of the rooms from clearances to obstructions, layouts, accessories, amenities and technologies.

MGD’s unique multidisciplinary approach to design allowed us to deliver a fresh perspective, leveraging our experienced team of architects, interior designers, and product designers.

  • Identifying potential problems with the existing built environment
  • Identifying design opportunities in the toileting cycle
  • Recommending architectural solutions that could be implemented as a retrofit, renovation, or as new construction
  • Recommending products that integrate with the built environment
  • Identifying new opportunities for product design solutions or systems solutions that work with the physical environment, and delivering concepts in sketch form
With all the clutter of medical equipment, it’s important to make the touch points and supporting grab bars and fixtures stand out.

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Ben Wintner

Chief Executive Officer, Michael Graves Design
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Donald Strum

President, Michael Graves Design
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Rob Van Varick

Chief Design Officer, Michael Graves Design
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