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Children's Hospital Association: Reducing Staff Injuries Related to Behavioral Health Patients

By Abby Moog & Ingrid Larson

The national crisis in children’s mental and behavioral health has caused a rise in admissions at Children’s Mercy Kansas City in those patient populations, leading to increased escalations and more frequent and severe staff injuries. In response, the hospital created an improvement team and launched a 90-day sprint to address the growing problems. The initiative achieved substantial reductions in staff injuries, patient self-harm, and the use of restraints with behavioral health patients.

The initiative was based on the Rapid Results framework, a method for getting results in under 100 days. Children’s Mercy set three goals:

  • Reduce the total use of pharmacological and physical restraints by 25%.
  • Reduce the risk for self-harm in patients with suicidal or homicidal ideation by 20%.
  • Reduce reported physical staff injuries related to behavioral health patients by 30%.

The goals were executed by three workgroups within the behavioral health rapid improvement team (BHRIT) focused on specific areas: patient cohorting and unit staffing, staff education and training, and staff support. The workgroups were led by a doctor/nurse dyad leadership structure and supported by an administrative sponsor. BHRIT overall was also supported by an executive sponsor, a coach and a communications and marketing specialist. The team represented a variety of disciplines and levels of staff, including nursing, social work, regulatory, child life, psychology, psychiatry, local leaders and frontline staff.


Read the full article via the Children's Hospital Association

Developmental and Behavioral Health at Children's Mercy

Mental Health Resources