Reducing falls in the inpatient hospital setting

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Abstract

Aim:

This quality improvement project's objective was to introduce and assess a process change to potentially reduce fall rates on an inpatient medical–surgical unit.

Methods:

The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice was used to guide the implementation of this project. This project was piloted over a 3-month period from October to December 2016 on a 38-bed medical–surgical unit at a community-based hospital in the southeastern United States. Prior to the implementation of this quality improvement project, staff received falls education using a modified pre-existing falls prevention protocol, with a focus on increasing the consistency of bed/chair alarm use for patients identified as being at risk for falling. Preintervention and postintervention fall rates were statistically compared to assess for change in practice.

Results:

The average monthly preintervention fall rate was 8.67 falls/1000 patient days, as compared with 5.07 falls postintervention, which resulted in an overall decrease of 44.5% in the average number of falls per month.

Conclusion:

This project illustrated that education and a consistent risk stratification for bed/chair alarm use may be an important component of an effective evidence-based falls prevention program.

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