Prevention of in-hospital falls: development of criteria for the conduct of a multi-site audit

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Background:Patient falls are a significant issue for hospitals due to the high rates of morbidity and mortality associated with these events, as well as the financial costs for the healthcare system.Objectives:To establish what constitutes best practice in terms of fall prevention in acute care facilities and use this to inform the development of best practice audit criteria.Methods:Criteria for clinical audit were developed from evidence derived from systematic reviews and guidelines. While these were drawn from the best available evidence, they were also developed in conjunction with clinicians undertaking a fall-prevention clinical audit and key stakeholders from the clinical settings to ensure their relevance and applicability to the acute care setting.Results:Current literature recommends a comprehensive and multifactorial approach to fall prevention. Eight audit criteria were derived from the best available evidence including the domains of physical environment, hospital culture and care processes, use of technology and targeted interventions.Conclusions:Existing research evidence and consultation with stakeholders has allowed the development of applicable, evidence-based audit criteria for fall prevention in acute care settings. This model can promote engagement, impact clinical practice and lead to improved outcomes.

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