An Integrative Review of Pediatric Fall Risk Assessment Tools

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Abstract

Problem

Patient fall prevention begins with accurate risk assessment. However, sustained improvements in prevention and quality of care include use of validated fall risk assessment tools (FRATs). The goal of FRATs is to identify patients at highest risk. Adult FRATs are often borrowed from to create tools for pediatric patients. Though factors associated with pediatric falls in the hospital setting are similar to those in adults, such as mobility, medication use, and cognitive impairment, adult FRATs and the factors associated with them do not adequately assess risk in children.

Eligibility Criteria

Articles were limited to English language, ages 0–21 years, and publish date 2006–2015.

Sample

The search yielded 22 articles. Ten were excluded as the population was primarily adult or lacked discussion of a FRAT. Critical appraisal and findings were synthesized using the Johns Hopkins Nursing evidence appraisal system.

Results

Twelve articles relevant to fall prevention in the pediatric hospital setting that discussed fall risk assessment and use of a FRAT were reviewed. Comparison between and accuracy of FRATs is challenged when different classifications, definitions, risk stratification, and inclusion criteria are used.

Conclusions

Though there are several pediatric FRATs published in the literature, none have been found to be reliable and valid across institutions and diverse populations.

Implications

This integrative review highlights the importance of choosing a FRAT based on an institution's identified risk factors and validating the tool for one's own patient population as well as using the tool in conjunction with nursing clinical judgment to guide interventions.

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