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J Patient Saf. 2013 Mar;9(1):29-35. doi: 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182753e4f.

Inpatient fall prevention: use of in-room Webcams.

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  • 1University of NC at Charlotte School of Nursing, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.



Patient falls are a challenging safety and quality issue in acute care settings. This study compared inpatient falls on medical-surgical units with and without Webcams and assessed the Morse Risk Assessment (MRA) for effectiveness in identifying fall risk.


Ten hospitals in one health system that exceeded the benchmark for falls were chosen for a 6-month study. One medical-surgical unit in each of the 10 hospitals was randomly assigned to an intervention or control group. The intervention group used Webcams that viewed the bed with a central monitoring system. A "virtual bed rail" function was used for those patients with a Morse Risk Assessment (MRA) of greater than 25.


Consent rate was 20.7% for the intervention group. A significant difference (P ≤ 0.05) between groups was found in fall rate per 1000 admissions, but no significant difference was found in fall rate per 1000 patient days. The Morse Risk Assessment was a significant predictor of risk.


Webcams are one option to increase surveillance for high-risk patients. The use of the MRA with a 50+ score for high risk is recommended. More research is needed on patient acceptance of this form of intervention and effectiveness in preventing falls on various inpatient units or with specific age groups.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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