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The Joint Commission Releases Sentinel Event Data

New sentinel event data has been released by The Joint Commission to help accredited organizations mitigate and prevent future harm to care recipients. The Joint Commission reviewed 832 sentinel events this year, from Jan. 1 to June 30, with the majority of these – 90% (752) – being voluntarily self-reported by an accredited or certified organization. The remaining 80 sentinel events were reported either by patients (or their families) or employees (current or former) of the organization.

Patient safety specialists in the Office of Quality and Patient Safety help organizations to conduct a credible and thorough analysis of sentinel events to identify causative factors and implement relevant system solutions to prevent future harm.

The Top 10 most frequently reported sentinel events through the first half of 2022 were:

  • Fall – 199
  • Unintended retention of a foreign object – 30
  • Suicide – 26
  • Delay in treatment – 25
  • Wrong surgery – 19
  • Assault/Rape/Sexual Assault – 16
  • Medication management – 12
  • Self-harm – 11
  • Fire – 10
  • Clinical alarm response – 7

An estimated fewer than 2% of all sentinel events are reported to The Joint Commission. Therefore, these data are not an epidemiologic data set, and no conclusions should be drawn about the actual relative frequency of events or trends in events over time.

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