Experience and Hospital Context Influence Fall Prevention Practice by Physical Therapists: A Survey Study : The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ)

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Original Article

Experience and Hospital Context Influence Fall Prevention Practice by Physical Therapists: A Survey Study

Crick, James P. Jr; Juckett, Lisa; Salsberry, Marka; Quatman, Carmen; Quatman-Yates, Catherine C.

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Journal for Healthcare Quality 45(4):p 191-199, July/August 2023. | DOI: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000382



Falls in and following hospitalization are common and problematic. Little is understood about the factors that impede or promote effective implementation of fall prevention practices.

Purpose and Relevance: 

Physical therapists are commonly consulted for acute care patients at risk for falling. The purpose of this study is to understand therapist perceptions of their effectiveness in fall prevention and to explore the impact of contextual factors on practice patterns to prevent falls surrounding hospitalization.


Survey questions were tailored to the constructs of hospital culture, structural characteristics, networks and communications, and implementation climate, in addition to inquiries regarding practice patterns and attitudes/beliefs.


Overall, 179 surveys were analyzed. Most therapists (n = 135, 75.4%) affirmed their hospital prioritizes best practices for fall prevention, although fewer agreed that therapists other than themselves provide optimal fall prevention intervention (n = 105, 58.7%). Less practice experience was associated with greater odds of affirming that contextual factors influence fall prevention practice (odds ratio 3.90, p < .001). Respondents who agreed that their hospital system prioritizes best practices for fall prevention had 14 times the odds of believing that their system prioritizes making improvements (p = .002).


As experience influences fall prevention practice, quality assurance and improvement initiatives should be used to ensure minimum specifications of practice.

© 2023 National Association for Healthcare Quality

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