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Falls Aren't Us: State of the Science

Cozart, Huberta-Corazon T. MS, RN; Cesario, Sandra K. PhD, RNC, FAAN

doi: 10.1097/CNQ.0b013e3181a27dc0

Purpose This article reviews the scientific health and medical literature on accidental falls and fall prevention modalities specifically directed to the hospitalized elderly population over a 15-year period.

Methods Electronic searches of databases include CINAHL, Cochrane Library, Dissertation Abstracts, ERIC, MEDLINE, MeSH, PubMed PEDro, Ulrich's, and Web of Science. Key words and controlled subject headings used include accidental falls, fall prevention, fall risk factors, hospitalized elderly, fall incidence and rates, and environmental and patient safety. Boolean operators were utilized. Search limits include English languages, human subjects, older adult population, clinical trials, and meta-analyses.

Results Wide array and multitude of papers were accessed. Analyses of the various documents from classical seminal works to the current technological studies were performed.

Conclusion Fall prevention modalities may facilitate achievement of the ninth goal of The Joint Commission namely, to “reduce the risk of patient harm resulting form falls” and achievement of Healthy People 2010 15th goal namely, to “reduce death from falls.”

Prairie View A/M University College of Nursing (Ms Cozart) and Texas Woman's University College of Nursing (Dr Cesario), Houston, Texas

Corresponding author: Huberta-Corazon T. Cozart, MS, RN, Prairie View A/M University College of Nursing, 6436 Fannin, Houston, TX 77030 (

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.