CE: Original Research

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Abstract

Purpose: This study aimed to address the knowledge gap between implementing and sustaining evidence-based fall prevention practices for hospitalized patients by exploring perspectives of the interprofessional health care team.

Design: A qualitative design was used to capture insights from clinicians across disciplines in a large midwestern academic medical center.

Methods: Four homogenous semistructured focus groups and three individual interviews involving a total of 20 clinicians were conducted between October 2013 and March 2014. Audio-recorded data were transcribed and analyzed using inductive qualitative analysis.

Findings: Two primary themes emerged from participants regarding the sustainability of an evidence-based fall prevention program: communication patterns within the interprofessional health care team and influences of hospital organizational practices and elements. Several subthemes also emerged. Participants gave nursing staff primary responsibility for fall risk assessment and prevention.

Conclusions: Individual professional perceptions and practices, as well as organizational characteristics, affect the sustainability of evidence-based fall prevention practices. While all team members recognized patient falls as a significant quality and safety issue, most believed that direct care nurses hold primary responsibility for leading fall prevention efforts. The data support the importance of effective interprofessional team communication and organizational practices in sustaining an evidence-based fall prevention program across inpatient units. Furthermore, the data call into question the wisdom in labeling quality indicators as “nursing sensitive”; the evidence indicates that a team approach is best.

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