10 most common sentinel events of 2018

Patient falls were the most frequently reported sentinel event in 2018, according to a March 13 report from The Joint Commission.

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. The organization requires hospitals to conduct a root-cause analysis after a sentinel event occurs.

The Joint Commission reviewed 801 reports of sentinel events in 2018, 87 percent of which were voluntarily reported to the accrediting body.

Here are the 10 most frequently reported sentinel events for 2018:

  1. Fall — 111 reported
  2. Unintended retention of a foreign body — 111
  3. Wrong-site surgery — 94
  4. Unassigned — 68
  5. Unanticipated events such as asphyxiation, burn, choking on food, drowning or being found unresponsive — 59
  6. Suicide — 50
  7. Delay in treatment — 43
  8. Product or device event —29
  9. Criminal event — 28
  10. Medication error — 24

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