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Predicting Injurious Falls in the Hospital Setting: Implications for Practice

In the September 2016 issue of the American Journal of Nursing, Amy Hester PhD, RN; Pao-Feng Tsai PhD, RN;  Mallik Rettiganti PhD, and Anita Mitchell PhD, APRN have published their article, “Predicting Injurious Falls in the Hospital Setting: Implications for Practice.”  The purpose of the research was to determine which patient factors are associated with injurious falls in hospitalized patients.   This was a retrospective study which evaluated a total of 1,369 falls in 1,369 patients.  In this study 27.8% of falls resulted in some form of injury.

“We found a significant association between a primary discharge diagnosis of symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions and injurious falls; indeed, 40.6% of patients in this category suffered injurious falls. This suggests that clinicians should pay particular attention to patients admitted primarily for treatment of presenting signs or symptoms without further evaluation, or for whom a more precise diagnosis can’t be made. Examples include patients admitted with conditions such as nausea and vomiting, alterations in consciousness, and seizures, or for signs such as electrolyte imbalances (for example, hyponatremia, elevated ammonia levels, and hyperkalemia). Decisions about care and treatment with regard to preventing falls and injury should take these diagnoses into consideration.”

 

The article also states the importance of using interventions to prevent injurious falls:  “Patients at risk for injurious falls may benefit from interventions designed to offer protection from hard surfaces during a fall, such as floor mats, low beds, hip protectors, and protective helmets or caps. An awareness of which patient factors are associated with injurious falls will help clinicians provide the most appropriate interventions to the patients who most need them. Given that preventive resources are often limited, it’s critical that such resources be used with the right patients at the right time.”

 

Go to Predicting Injurious Falls in the Hospital Setting: Implications for Practice to view the article.