Risk Factors for Falls Among Hospitalized Acute Post–Ischemic Stroke Patients

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Abstract

Background: Falls remain an important benchmarking indicator for hospitals. Research identifies factors associated with falls among hospitalized patients in general. Similarly, the stroke literature outlines fall risk factors in the inpatient rehabilitation and community setting. Purpose: The aim of this study was to identify prevalence and risk factors for falls among acute, hospitalized AIS patients within an urban public healthcare system. Secondary aims were to identify activities present at the time of the fall and outcomes associated with falling. Methods: This is a retrospective case-control study. Data were abstracted and merged from hospital stroke and fall registries and matched with medical records from 2013 to 2015 among all adult patients admitted for AIS. Results: The study included 856 patients with AIS, with 2.3% experiencing a fall during the acute care hospitalization period. Falls among patients with AIS accounted for 1.4% of all hospitalized adult falls. Bivariate analysis indicate that a higher proportion of falls occurred among male patients when compared with female patients (75% male; χ2 = 3.964, P < .05) and among patients with a history of previous myocardial infarction or renal insufficiency (χ2 = 5.260, P < .05; χ2 = 11.116, P < .001, respectively). Multivariate analyses identify previous myocardial infarction (OR, 2.5; 95% confidence interval, 1.0–6.3; P = .04) and renal insufficiency (odds ratio, 4.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.5-12.2; P = .008) as strongest predictors of falls. The occurrence of a fall resulted in increased hospital length of stay (7.1 vs 4.0 days, P < .000) and slightly decreased functional outcome at discharge. Most falls occurred during the day shift while toileting, despite implementation and adherence to fall prevention programs. Conclusions: Fall rates among hospitalized patients with AIS are low, which may be reflective of increased vigilance among providers and widespread integration of fall prevention strategies. Consistent with the fall literature among other populations, the occurrence of a fall in the inpatient setting can substantially increase length of stay.

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