Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals with 30 percent to 50 percent resulting in injury according to The Joint Commission. These injured patients require additional treatment which, on average, can add 6.3 days and approximately $14,000 to a hospital stay.
Elderly patients with fall risk factors are not the only patients who are vulnerable to falling. Any patient of any age or physical ability can be at risk for a fall due to physiological changes related to a medical condition, medications, or a procedure. These factors make fall prevention difficult and complex.
Successful strategies have been developed to reduce and prevent falls. One strategy includes the use of standardized assessment tools to identify fall and injury risk factors, which may be used to determine interventions for prevention. Systematic reporting and analysis of fall events also are important components of a fall prevention program.
Fall prevention involves managing a patient's underlying fall risk factors and optimizing the hospital's physical design and environment. Preventing hospitalized patient falls hospital is everyone’s business. Staff of all disciplines have an important role to play in preventing the harm resulting from inpatient falls.
HAP has addressed fall prevention through facility-driven information sharing, educational, and technical assistance, with a focus on:
- Sustaining the gain
- Identifying current best practices and implementation
- Analyzing fall event data
- Identifying the most successful fall prevention strategies
- Addressing myths that prevent the development of proactive fall prevention programs
For more information, contact Janette Bisbee. Media inquiries should be directed to Chris Daley, HAP's vice president, strategic communications.