Risk factors of falls among inpatients with cancer

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Abstract

Aim

To investigate the risk factors and predictors of falls according to the general characteristics, conscious state, physical condition and treatment of hospitalized patients with cancer.

Background

Inpatients with cancer experience falls more frequently than those without cancer, and the degree of injuries is more severe among inpatients with cancer. A specific fall prevention strategy is needed for each patient. Prevention of falls in patients with cancer is very important for improving the quality of nursing care.

Methods

This retrospective study included matched case–control patients. We evaluated patients between January 1, 2013, and December 31, 2014. A total of 356 patients (fall group, 178; non-fall group, 178) were included. For fall prediction, logistic regression was performed on the variables that were statistically significant in the univariate analysis.

Results

The variables that were significant predictors of falls were the use of an assistive device, history of falls and fatigue.

Discussion

The predictors of falls in patients with cancer include physical conditions and general characteristics. Fall prevention strategies in patients with cancer should be planned individually with multifaceted aspects, including physical symptom management.

Limitations

The study was conducted at a single cancer center in Korea; thus, our results cannot be generalized. Additionally, in Korea, it is common to have family members or private caregivers for patient care, and this might have influenced the results.

Conclusion and implications for nursing and health policy

The predictive factors for falls reflect the nature of the patient's environment, culture and disease. Falls have a negative effect on patient safety and can significantly influence quality of life. Policies for patient safety need more specialized and customized approaches.

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