Fall Prevention Kit Reduces Patient Falls

Cora Nucci, for HealthLeaders Media , November 3, 2010

Conducted at four Massachusetts hospitals, including one community teaching hospital, the goal of the study was to determine if FPTKs could prevent falls. Through the use of icons and plain-language alerts, fall risk was communicated to 5,104 patients over a six-month period.  Of the 11 icons used to communicate fall risk, eight were related either directly to toileting or getting out of bed to toilet.

"Bedside alerts that communicate safe toileting strategies tailored to the needs of individual patients are particularly important for preventing falls in older adults, in whom toileting-related falls are most common and more likely to result in injury," the study notes.

Of the 5104 patients observed in the study, in the end, there were 67 falls among patients exposed to FPTKs and 87 falls among patients in the units without the kits.  Researchers calculated that the kits could potentially prevent one fall every four days, 7.5 falls each month, and about 90 falls each year in the study units alone.

While the results showed success in reducing falls in patients over the age of 65, curiously, the overall fall rate increased in patients younger than 65, indicating that different messaging may be required for this group.

See Also:
Reducing In-Hospital Patient Falls
Reducing the Patient Fall Rate in a Rural Health System
Fear of Falling Can Lead to Falls, Researchers Conclude
Elderly Fall Injuries Cost $20 Billion in 2006 and Price Is Rising

Cora Nucci is the Digital Associate Editorial Director for HealthLeaders Media.

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