Reducing falls in the inpatient hospital setting

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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.


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.


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.


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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