Patient falls are the single largest category of reported adverse incidents in hospitals resulting in significant adverse outcomes and increased cost, and they continue to be a considerable challenge across the care continuum.
One-third of all people over age 65 will fall in the next twelve months, and one third of those that fall will suffer some type of injury.
Approximately 11,000 fatal falls occur in US hospitals every year, and by the year 2020, the annual direct and indirect costs for fall related care across all healthcare settings is estimated to reach $47 billion.
Brain injuries and injuries to the hips, legs and feet are both the most fatal and costly of fall injuries accounting for 78% of fatalities and 79% of fall related costs.
While improvements have been made in reducing fractures from falls in the hospital setting, reducing head injuries has continued to be an issue in the hospital and all non-acute settings.The Challenge
Ribcaps come in a variety of styles, colors, and sizes.
Although there has been an evolution of technology for head injury prevention for sports, little attention has been paid to evaluating the application of these technologies to promote better patient outcomes. Medical helmets have been available for a number of years, but their use has been limited and compliance poor, as patients find them to be "unattractive", "uncomfortable" and feel they "draw negative attention".The Solution
Designed with a viscoelastic impact polymer, Ribcap is a technologically advanced means of head protection hidden under a regular appearing cap. Unlike a helmet with a hard outer shell, this protective cap is made of a soft, pliable polymer that locks up on impact. Independent testing by professor Rémy Willinger from the university of Strasbourg (http://www.physique-ingenierie.unistra.fr/spip.php?article63) to evaluate the impact on diffuse axonal injuries and subdural hematomas has previously demonstrated that Ribcaps provide "significant head protection and may prevent head trauma in a number of head impact situations". With IRB approval, Ribcap was tested in an acute care population to evaluate patient satisfaction and clinical impact.The Results
Ribcap was implemented in a pilot area at the UAMS Medical Center, Little Arkansas, US (http://uamshealth.com/) in March of 2015. Patients prioritized for using Ribcap included those with: low platelet counts, anticoagulant therapy, unsteady gait, weakness and fatigue and chemotherapy. Since initiation of the trial there have been no head injuries on the pilot unit. Patients and their families have been overwhelmingly complimentary of the Ribcaps and we have even observed patients returning for subsequent admissions still using their Ribcaps. Use of the Ribcaps is being implemented across the hospital and the clinical criteria for using Ribcap has expanded to any patient with a coagulopathy or those at risk for a fall that staff feel would benefit from having a padded cap.