Falls assessment and interventions among older patients in two medical and one surgical hospital wards in Spain: a best practice implementation project

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Abstract

Objective:

The current project aimed to improve fall prevention and management through clinical audits and the implementation of a quality-improvement cycle at the local level.

Introduction:

Falls are one of the most common adverse events reported in hospitals; evidence-based fall prevention interventions aim to reduce the number of people who fall.

Methods:

A one-year clinical audit was conducted using a pre-post implementation audit method, namely the Joanna Briggs Institute's (JBI) Practical Application of Clinical Evidence System and the getting research into practice audit and feedback tool. Two medical wards and a surgical ward in a Spanish hospital participated. The subjects were evaluated at baseline and at a follow-up at six months after key strategies had been implemented.

Results:

Compliance rates for the evidence-based criteria were low in the baseline audit. Five barriers were identified in relation to fall assessment and management and, based on getting research into practice, strategies were designed, developed and implemented to overcome these barriers. After implementation, most of the fall-risk-assessment criteria showed an overall improvement, but there was no effect on care plan recording. Awareness of the assessment and management of fall risks were increased among professionals and patients on all three study wards.

Conclusions:

The current project may improve compliance with regard to promoting evidence-based fall prevention and management interventions. Further audits are necessary to evaluate any improvements achieved, in particular, care plans.

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