NQF's new safety measures focus on falls, pressure ulcers

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The National Quality Forum (NQF) Board of Directors endorsed new patient safety points of emphasis, including several directly related to long-term care, this week. The new measures came in the third installment from the NQF's patient safety endorsement project this year.

“These endorsed measures will have a significant impact on national patient safety efforts by helping providers measure, report on, and ultimately improve the care they deliver.” said Helen Burstin, MD, MPH, senior vice president for performance measures at NQF.

Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death for ages 65 and older. One estimate projects the cost of elderly patient falls at more than $30 billion by 2020. Pressure ulcers were contained in a secondary diagnoses that occurred in more than a quarter-million Medicare patients during hospitalizations in 2007. The average cost per case was more than $43,000.

Among the additional endorsed measures were: nurses' hours, the skill mix of healthcare workers, and outcome measures for MRSA and CDI. Earlier measures in June and August, 2012, included information on medication safety, surgical safety, care coordination, venous thromboembolism and medication documentation.

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