10 most common sentinel events of 2022: Joint Commission

Patient falls were the most common sentinel event reported among hospitals in the first six months of 2022, according to a Sept. 7 report from The Joint Commission.

The accrediting body received 832 reports of sentinel events in the first six months of 2022, 90 percent of which healthcare organizations voluntarily reported. If this rate continues in the second half of the year, total sentinel event reports will likely surpass the 1,197 sentinel events reported in 2021, which represented the highest annual level seen since the accrediting body started publicly reporting them in 2007.

The Joint Commission defines a sentinel event as a patient safety event that results in death, permanent harm, severe temporary harm or intervention required to sustain life. 

Only a small portion of all sentinel events are reported to The Joint Commission, meaning conclusions about the events' frequency and long-term trends should not be drawn from the dataset, the organization said.

The 10 most frequently reported sentinel events for the first half of 2022:

  1. Fall — 199
  2. Unintended retention of a foreign object — 30
  3. Suicide — 26
  4. Delay in treatment — 25
  5. Wrong surgery — 19
  6. Assault/Rape/Sexual Assault — 16
  7. Medication management — 12
  8. Self-harm — 11
  9. Fire — 10
  10. Clinical alarm response — 7

Learn more here.

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