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Joint Commission Data Finds Rise in Serious Patient Safety Events Among Healthcare Facilities in 2022

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The Joint Commission has released its Sentinel Event Data 2022 Annual Review on serious adverse events from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2022. A sentinel event is a patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm or severe temporary harm. Sentinel events are debilitating to both patients and healthcare providers involved in the event. 

The Joint Commission reviewed 1,441 sentinel events in 2022. The most prevalent sentinel event types were:

  • Falls (42%)
  • Delay in treatment (6%)
  • Unintended retention of foreign object (6%)
  • Wrong surgery (6%)
  • Suicide (5%)

Failures in communications, teamwork and consistently following polices were the leading causes for reported sentinel events. Most reported sentinel events occurred in a hospital (88%). Of all the sentinel events, 20% were associated with patient death, 44% with severe temporary harm and 13% with unexpected additional care/extended stay.

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