Fall Prevention Practices and Implementation Strategies: Examining Consistency Across Hospital Units.

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DOI: 10.1097/PTS.0000000000000758; PMCID: PMC7854936


OBJECTIVE: Our study examines how consistently fall prevention practices and implementation strategies are used by U.S. hospitals.

METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional, descriptive study of 60 general adult hospital units.We administered a survey measuring 5 domains of fall prevention practices: visibility and identification, bed modification, patient monitoring, patient safety, and education. We measured 4 domains of implementation strategies including quality management (e.g., providing data and support for quality improvement), planning (e.g., designating leadership), education (e.g., providing consultation and training), and restructuring (e.g., revising staff roles and modifying equipment).

RESULTS: Of 60 units, 43% were medical units and 57% were medical-surgical units. The hospital units varied in fall prevention practices, with practices such as keeping a patient's bed in a locked position (73% strongly agree) being used more consistently than other practices, such as scheduled toileting (15% strongly agree). Our study observed variation in fall prevention implementation strategies. For example, publicly posting fall rates (60% strongly agree) was more consistently used than having a multidisciplinary huddle after a fall event (12% strongly agree).

CONCLUSIONS: There is substantial variation in the implementation of fall prevention practices and implementation strategies across inpatient units. Our study found that resource-intensive practices (e.g., scheduled toileting) are less consistently used than less resource-intensive practices and that interdisciplinary approaches to fall prevention are limited. Future studies should examine how units tailor fall prevention practices based on patient risk factors and how units decide, based on their available resources, which implementation strategies should be used.

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J Patient Saf





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