Grant Application

Wendy Lucas, RN, MSN, CCRN; Irma D’Antonio, RN, MSN, SSGB; Diana Curry, RN; Kay Cavanaugh, RN; Karen Collins, RN;Jenifer Pribanic, RN; Mike Archer, RN; Tim Tuttle, RN; Jenifer Dulaney, RN; Beth Bennethum, RN; Cynthia Mathews, Unit Director; Kim Fleegle, RN, MSN Clinical Director at UPMC Shadyside


Proposed Innovation

Surgical oncology patients undergo treatments that can cause weakness and confusion, which puts them at increased risk of falling. Through this pilot program, the surgical oncology nursing staff at UPMC Shadyside’s Unit 4 Main partnered with agreeable families to prevent falls by customizing care delivery and encouraging family support. The goal was to decrease falls on 4 Main by 50 percent, decrease “patient sitter” use on 4 Main, and increase family participation in care.


Improvements in Action

The grant enabled the nursing staff to provide basic comforts when inviting family members to stay overnight with their loved ones. The 39 participating families were provided reclining chairs for overnight stays, hygiene kits, meal and parking tickets, and comfort items such as magazines and newspapers. They also were given educational material on patient care following discharge.


Results – In Progress

The pilot program was 100 percent successful in preventing falls among all 39 patients with participating family members. However, 4 Main’s overall “patient fall” rate remained unchanged among patients and families who did not participate.

The project is currently being expanded to other oncology floors at UPMC Shadyside. Additional recliners also will be purchased for use by family members. During this next phase, additional information will be gathered to measure how well the program is working.