Joint Commission Implements Mandatory Universal Patient Helmet Regulations.

Baltimore, MD - In an effort to reduce injuries and deaths related to in-hospital falls,  the Joint Commission notified hospitals last week of strict new universal  helmet regulations for all hospitalized patients, without exception.

Patient death or serious injury associated with a fall while being cared for in a health care setting has been a recognized since 2002 as one of 27 original never events as defined by the National Quality Forum (NQF).  The complete list was revised in 2011 to include 29 never events, but falls by confused old naked men have continued to result in serious injuries despite endless attempts to counteract natural traumatic hospital acquired deaths.

"We've heard from hospitals loud and clear.  They've tried everything from 4 point leather restraints and  putting on fall-risk arm bands to Ativan drips with soothing country music and we have concluded that patients are just gonna fall.  So we figure it  makes sense for us to force all patients to wear a helmet," said Mark R. Chassin, M.D. FACP, M.P.P, M.P.H, president and chief executive officer of The Joint Commission (TJC).

"In a few years, universal helmet use will be as normal as universal hand washing is today."

Hospitalists were thrilled to learn about mandatory helmet regulations in the hospital.  "I get at least two calls a night from the night nurse letting me know they found a patient laying unresponsive on the floor in a pool of blood at 2 a.m. with a large pulsating scalp bleeder and do I want to do anything about it," said Hospitalist James Fleming.

"But now with mandatory helmet regulations, I think we'll be more comfortable not ordering the stat CT head.  It's just going to take some time getting used to."

While hospitalists were thrilled with their new found nocturnal freedom, not all specialities were equally excited.  Stan Bedlow, a prominent local Neurosurgeon was concerned the new policy would interfere with his ability to operate effectively and efficiently.

"We asked The Joint Commission to waive their tough new standards for neurosurgical patients, but they said no.  "I'm not really sure how I'm going to access the brain through a helmet, but we believe The Joint Commission is the gold standard in safety, so we'll probably just consult the  hospitalist to manage it.

Hospitals prepare for mandatory patient helmet use.
Some surgical nurses were happy to hear the hospital was finally going to counteract unsafe operating practices. "We've had a few patients roll off the table and die while the anesthesiologist was doing advanced sudoku puzzles and trading stocks and the orthopedic surgeon was blasting Guns N' Roses and singing Sweet Child o' Mine, " said one surgical nurse who wished to remain anonymous for fear of telling the truth and losing her job.

Even the Obstetricians were left scratching their heads on the new mandatory helmet policy.  "We've been told by our hospital quality officials that all expectant mothers and their newborns will be required to have a helmet secured prior to the baby exiting the birth canal or C-section.  We figured this was a perfect job for the third year medical student so we've decided to base their whole clerkship grade on how well they perform retraction-helmet duty," said Academic Obstetrician Dr. Michelle Johnson.

The Joint Commission expressed confidence their strict new safety measures would be accepted kindly by physicians who understand the importance of universal safety precautions in the hospital.  "We anticipate physician experience with our helmet regulations will help them fully embrace our anticipated full body Charmin wrap requirement planned for next year's accreditation process," said Dr. Chassin.

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