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Virtual Sitters Can Improve Patient Safety and Reduce Unbudgeted Hospital Costs

October 1, 2019

A common practice in hospitals today is the use of patient sitters, also called “specialling”, in which non-clinical staff is assigned on a one-to-one basis to provide in-room monitoring of patients at high risk for falls, self-harm, or other types of perilous events. Patient types often include those with neurological conditions or injuries, those who are agitated from substance abuse withdrawal, and those in mental distress who may be at risk of suicide. This layer of observation can bolster patient safety and prevent costly in-hospital injuries. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality estimates that 700,000 to 1 million hospitalized patients fall each year, with more than one-third resulting in serious injury.

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