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Original Research

Predicting Injurious Falls in the Hospital Setting

Implications for Practice

Hester, Amy L. PhD, RN; Tsai, Pao-Feng PhD, RN; Rettiganti, Mallik PhD; Mitchell, Anita PhD, APRN

AJN The American Journal of Nursing: September 2016 - Volume 116 - Issue 9 - p 24–31
doi: 10.1097/01.NAJ.0000494688.10004.85
Feature Articles

Background: Despite years of research and increasingly evidence-based practice, falls continue to be the most commonly reported adverse events experienced by hospitalized adults. Yet a majority of the relevant research has focused on predicting and preventing falls in general; there has been little focus on injurious falls.

Purpose: The purpose of this retrospective study was to determine which patient factors are associated with injurious falls in hospitalized adults.

Methods: The study site's adverse event reporting database was used to identify 1,369 patients who fell between January 1, 2006, and October 31, 2013. Of these, 381 (27.8%) subjects suffered injurious falls. Variables of interest included age, sex, fall history, use of diuretics, use of central nervous system medications, cognitive impairment, primary discharge diagnoses, abnormal laboratory values, impaired mobility, and body mass index.

Findings: Bivariate analysis revealed a statistically significant association between injurious falls and having a primary discharge diagnosis of “symptoms, signs, and ill-defined conditions.” Having this discharge diagnosis was a significant predictor of injurious falls.

Conclusions: Findings from this study may help hospital clinicians to better identify which patients are most at risk for injurious falls and to create better fall-related injury prevention interventions.

In an attempt to identify which patient factors are associated with injurious falls in hospitalized adults, the authors of this retrospective study analyzed 10 variables. Their findings may help hospital clinicians to identify at-risk patients and to create better fall-related injury prevention interventions.

Amy L. Hester is the director of nursing research and innovation at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) Medical Center, Little Rock. Pao-Feng Tsai is a professor of nursing and Anita Mitchell is an associate professor of nursing at UAMS College of Nursing. Mallik Rettiganti is an assistant professor of pediatrics at UAMS College of Medicine, as well as an assistant professor of biostatistics at UAMS College of Public Health. Contact author: Amy L. Hester, The authors and planners have disclosed no potential conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise.

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