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Can in-hospital falls really be prevented?
Date:7/6/2011

ROSEMONT, Ill.While falls are a common cause of injury, particularly in older, hospitalized patients, some may not be as preventable as once thought. According to a new literature review published in the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS), many of the risks that frequently cause falls are not adequately addressed with the fall prevention initiatives used in healthcare facilities.

Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries to older people in the United States. Each year, more than 11 million people older than 65 years of age fallone in three senior citizens.

In hospitals, approximately 3 to 20 percent of inpatients fall at least once during their stay. These falls are considered "preventable" by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid, and therefore healthcare facilities are held accountable for the costs of treating any resulting injuries. However, in this literature review, the authors found that hospitals may not be able to prevent most falls, as many risk factors are not under the caregivers' direct control.

For example, one study, examined in the review, found that comprehensive fall prevention programs, including patient education, vision assessments, and walking aids did not reduce the incidence of falls for patients undergoing a typical inpatient hospital stay (median of seven days). Such strategies are more effective in long-term care (i.e., 20 or 30 days) or carefully managed home care settings.

Another study indicates that there is a strong correlation between falling and delirium that supports the need for early identification and management of delirium in the hospital. This suggests that patients receiving intervention including pre- and postoperative assessments and management of postoperative complications for delirium are less likely to receive fewer serious
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Contact: Kayee Ip
ip@aaos.org
847-384-4035
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Source:Eurekalert

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