Hospital Undertakes Corrective Action Following Death of Patient in Stairwell

February 5, 2014 | Strategic Insights for Health System


The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved a corrective action plan for a California hospital after investigating an incident in which a patient, who was presumed delirious from an electrolyte imbalance related to her alcohol abuse, went missing from her room and was found dead in a stairwell more than two weeks later, according to a January 25, 2014, Modern Healthcare article. Elements of the plan include equipping stairwell doors with alarms that can only be turned off with a key, having nurses account for their patients when the alarms go off, and having sheriff's deputies who provide security at the hospital search the stairwells daily. In addition to the stairwell checks, the local sheriff has agreed to assign deputies to look for patients who show signs of being disoriented or confused to help prevent an incident like this from occurring again.

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