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Clin Nurs Res. 2008 Feb;17(1):50-66. doi: 10.1177/1054773807311408.

Bed and toilet height as potential environmental risk factors.

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New York University College of Nursing, New York, USA.


Seat height that is too high (> 120% of lower leg length [LLL]) or too low (< 80% of LLL) can impede safe transfer and result in falls. This study examines the difference between LLL of frail nursing home residents and the height of their toilets and beds in the lowest position, compares the patient or environmental characteristics of those able to transfer from the bed or toilet to those who cannot, and determines the relationship of patient or environmental characteristics to bed-related falls. A retrospective observational design using secondary data from 263 nursing home residents finds that bed height of three fourths of participants was greater than 140% of LLL, whereas toilet height of more than half was 100% to 120% of LLL. Increased fall risk is associated with increased age, shorter length of stay, normal lower extremity range of motion, less cognitive impairment, more behavioral symptoms, and no complaints of pain during exam.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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