Developing a multi-systemic fall prevention model, incorporating the physical environment, the care process and technology: a systematic review

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This paper reports a review that assessed the effectiveness and characteristics of fall prevention interventions implemented in hospitals. A multi-systemic fall prevention model that establishes a practical framework was developed from the evidence.


Falls occur through complex interactions between patient-related and environmental risk factors, suggesting a need for multifaceted fall prevention approaches that address both factors.

Data sources.

We searched Medline, CINAHL, PsycInfo and the Web of Science databases for references published between January 1990 and June 2009 and scrutinized secondary references from acquired papers.

Review methods.

Due to the heterogeneity of interventions and populations, we conducted a quantitative systematic review without a meta-analysis and used a narrative summary to report findings.


From the review, three distinct characteristics of fall prevention interventions emerged: (1) the physical environment, (2) the care process and culture and (3) technology. While clinically significant evidence shows the efficacy of environment-related interventions in reducing falls and fall-related injuries, the literature identified few hospitals that had introduced environment-related interventions in their multifaceted fall intervention strategies.


Using the multi-systemic fall prevention model, hospitals should promote a practical strategy that benefits from the collective effects of the physical environment, the care process and culture and technology to prevent falls and fall-related injuries. By doing so, they can more effectively address the various risk factors for falling and therefore, prevent falls. Studies that test the proposed model need to be conducted to establish the efficacy of the model in practice.

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