Systematic Literature Review on Fall Prevention in an Acute Care Hospital Setting
Falls, with and without injury, in acute care hospitals are quite common but can be prevented if appropriate interventions are in place to address this issue. It is imperative that nurses assess fall risks of all patients admitted to the hospital and advocate for appropriate interventions to prevent falls in those who are found to be at risk. The purpose of this project was to recommend changes to the current fall prevention protocol in the project facility, an acute care hospital, based on best practices identified in a systematic review of the literature. At the time of the project, the hospital had a high rate of falls. The clinical practice question addressed by this project focused on the evidence-based fall prevention interventions that have resulted in a decreased fall rate among patients on medical-surgical units in an acute inpatient hospital setting. This doctoral project was informed by Kolcaba's theory of caring, and the major source of evidence was a systematic review of the literature focusing on fall prevention. Findings indicated that identification of fall risk factors and implementation of multifactorial fall prevention interventions, such as fall prevention teams, unit fall team champions and use of a fall risk scale, can reduce falls on medical surgical units in acute care hospitals. It was recommended that a multidisciplinary fall prevention team be developed in conjunction with unit fall team champions and that a fall risk scale be used to bridge the practice gap. If implemented, these changes may benefit patients, nurses, and the organization as a whole through decreased falls, lengths of stay, and health care costs.