Degree Name

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)

Document Type

Major Paper


School of Nursing




Maintaining the safety of hospitalized patients is a top priority in healthcare. Evidence has demonstrated that most patient injuries associated with falls are preventable. Despite major, sustained national initiatives related to fall prevention, fall rates continue to be problematic in acute care settings. Patient sitters are often used to observe/and or assist those that are identified as at a high risk for falls; however evidence to support the effectiveness of this intervention in reducing fall risk is lacing. A committee charged with revising the sitter policy in an acute care facility discovered inconsistencies by nurses when assessing this patient population. A literature review revealed common contributing factors to a change in cognition and delirium, both having strong relationship to patient falls. A Patient Sitter Assessment tool was developed and pilot tested on a 27 bed medical surgical telemetry unit. The purpose of this process improvement project was to determine the ease of use,utility, and staff satisfaction of the tool. Evaluation from 12 staff nurses who participated were favorable. Overall, nurses indicated satisfaction with the tool, and provided feedback that more education on delirium and contributing factors that impact cognition was needed. It is expected that use of the tool will result in earlier detection and treatment of change in cognitive status and improved sitter use. Implications and recommendations are presented and discussed.

Included in

Nursing Commons