Date of Conferral
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
Inpatient falls are a leading cause of fatal and serious injuries among hospitalized elderly patients, often with devastating consequences. This quality improvement project was conducted on a geriatric unit in a large southeastern U. S. hospital, following recognition of an increase in the number of falls with several sustained injuries. After an analysis of the previous fall prevention strategies, a panel of stakeholders who formed a falls prevention committee determined that implementing an evidence-based fall risk assessment tool to help identify risk factors, as well as implementing interventions to address those risk factors, would make fall prevention more patient specific and comprehensive. Guided by the IOWA Model, this project was designed to assess the effectiveness of implementing the Morse Fall Scale for a period of 2 months on the geriatric unit. Nurses were educated on the use of the tool and interventions, and 32 (87.5%) shared their perceptions of the effectiveness of the tool using a 5-item questionnaire following tool implementation. Fall rates based on nursing assessments and incident reports were monitored 6 months prior to, 2 months during implementation, and 2 months after the implementation of the MFS ended. The fall rate on the unit decreased by 50% during the implementation of the Morse Fall Scale; 99% of nurses agreed or strongly agreed that the tool was easy to understand, quick to use, identified and increased awareness of fall risks as well as fall prevention strategies, and decreased falls. Nurses leading fall prevention programs supported by evidence can address the serious patient safety issue of falls to decrease the negative impact on patients, families, and health care systems by reducing falls among elderly patients.