Frailty and falls in the elderly

Patient-Centered Fall-Prevention Toolkit

Angie SzumlinskiHealth, Studies

Falls represent a leading cause of preventable injury in hospitals and a frequently reported serious adverse event. Hospitalization is associated with an increased risk for falls and serious injuries including hip fractures, subdural hematomas, or even death. A recent, nonrandomized, controlled trial assessed whether a fall-prevention tool kit that engages patients and families in the fall prevention process throughout hospitalization is associated with reduced falls and injurious falls.

The primary outcome was the rate of patient falls per 1,000 patient-days in targeted units during the study period. The secondary outcome was the rate of falls with injury per 1,000 patient days. The nurse-led, patient-centered fall-prevention tool kit was associated with reduced rates of falls and injurious falls. The fall-prevention tool kit helped link patient-specific risk factors to interventions most likely to prevent a fall. Various modalities of the tool kit allow for integration into existing clinical workflows in diverse hospital settings. This tool kit appears to address the gap among nursing assessment of fall risk, tailored fall-prevention interventions, and engagement of patients throughout the fall-prevention process. 

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if fewer residents fell and more importantly fewer residents suffered negative outcomes related to falls? The Falls TIPS toolkit is not a new thing, there are publications discussing this patient-centered process dating back to as early as 2009, so why haven’t we embraced this toolkit? I have no clue but maybe it is time to take a look at it and see if it can be tweaked to meet the needs of our residents! It is probably worth the time and effort! Stay the course, stay strong, stay well, mask up, and stay tuned!