To provide up-to-date data on fall prevalence and trends in Veterans Health Administration (VHA) hospitals.
Data were collected by the VHA Inpatient Evaluation Center (IPEC) between 2011 and 2017, to establish prevalence and trends of falls and major injuries occurring in acute care/intensive care units (AC/ICU), behavior health (BH), and community living center (CLC)/long-term care, using bed days of care (BDOC) as denominators.
A total of 204,681 falls were reported (rate = 4.8 falls/1,000 BDOC) during the study period, of which 2,549 (1.2%) resulted in a major injury (rate = 6.0/100,000 BDOC). Fall rates decreased over the 6-year study period for all unit types: 10% decrease for BH (p < .0001), 9% decrease for AC/ICU (p < .0001), and 3% decrease for CLC (p = .0043). Major injury rates remained consistent.
In this large descriptive study, fall and major injury rates varied by nursing unit type in VHA hospitals. Over the 6-year study period, a clinically and statistically significant decrease in fall rates for BH and AC/ICU units was observed as well as a small but statistically significant decrease in fall rates for CLC units. No trend was observed for major injury rates.