Evidence-Based Falls Prevention in CAHs (Policy Brief #24)

Publication Date: Dec 2011
Author(s): Pearson KB, Coburn AF
Research Center(s): Maine
Project: Strategies for Improving the Safety of Care Delivered by Critical Access Hospitals
Topic(s): Flex Program, Patient Safety, Quality
Notes: Policy Brief #24

Inpatient falls are a serious patient safety problem in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs).  Injuries from falls are also costly — it is estimated that patients injured in a fall sustain upwards of 60% higher total charges than other hospitalized patients.  This brief is one in a series of policy briefs identifying and assessing evidence-based patient safety and quality improvement interventions appropriate for use by state Flex Programs and CAHs.

Key Findings:

  • Hospital falls are a serious patient safety problem, accounting for nearly 84% of all inpatient incidents. Most falls commonly occur as a result of medication related issues, toileting needs, and hospital environmental conditions.
  • Effective falls interventions target both intrinsic (e.g. physiologic) and extrinsic (e.g. environmental) risk factors.
  • Effective falls prevention teams are interdisciplinary and are embedded in a culture of patient safety.
  • Education for and communication across all staff contributes to successful falls prevention programs.