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Inpatient Falls

Ruby Chu (2017) discusses in the article “Preventing in-patient Falls”, a 3-year study by Abreu found that the rate of fall occurrence was highest in the morning then night shift and was lower during the evening shifts. The study also showed that most falls occurred in inpatient rooms, bathrooms, and corridors; most falls were due to environmental or physiologic causes and a major cause was patients trying to get up in their room.

Early morning falls were thought to be more likely to occur as patients are busy with their personal care or activities of daily living (ADL’s) and thought to be less frequent in the evening as it was more likely that visitors were present and able to not allow patients to get up without assistance.

Another study discussed by Chu was done by Tsai et al. and showed among older adults, the bedside was a highly common area for falls and injuries with 83% of falls occurring in this area.  It also showed that falls among men were at a higher rate than women with men’s fall rate being 55% and women being 45%.

These falls were thought to occur because of a patient not asking for assistance when getting up to the bathroom or when transferring to or from the bed and when a patient was sitting in a chair and attempting to reach for objects.

Many fall prevention initiatives are in place in hospitals, yet falls still occur and many patients need continuous close observation. In 2010, Denver Health (DH) implemented a video monitoring system to prevent patient falls, as one-to-one sitters were in high demand.  The video system could monitor 8-10 patients at a time and in the three months it was piloted, 57 fall incidents were prevented.

To read more this article for more info about these studies, the video monitoring program and a nurse’s role in preventing in-patient falls click here.

Chu, R. (2017). Preventing inpatient falls: the nurse’s pivotal role. Nursing, 47(3), 25- 30. DOI-10.1097/01.NURSE.0000512872.83762.69


Our featured Med/Surg Fall Champion

Expert 7706 – master’s prepared with 19 years of nursing experience in acute care, medical/surgical, and neonatal care. Currently living and working in Florida as an Associate Manager of a Medical-Surgical Unit where she is responsible for reviewing quality care with a risk management approach and is a “fall champion”. For more on this expert click here.


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