7 most common sentinel events this year

Care management incidents were the most common type of sentinel event reported in the first half of 2020, according to data The Joint Commission released Aug. 12.

The 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.

It reviewed 437 reports of sentinel events in the first six months of the year, 85 percent of which were voluntarily reported to the accrediting body.

Despite clinical and operational challenges brought on by the pandemic, the 437 events are  comparable to the number of events reported in the first half of 2019.

In the first six months of 2020, sentinel events were most frequently reported in the following categories:

  1. Care management — 165 reported events

  2. Surgical or invasive procedures — 131 

  3. Unassigned events at the time of the report — 46

  4. Suicide — 41

  5. Protection events — 38

  6. Environment events — 12

  7. Product or device — 4

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