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J Eval Clin Pract. 2014 Oct;20(5):631-7. doi: 10.1111/jep.12187. Epub 2014 Jun 5.

Circumstances and causes of falls by patients at a Spanish acute care hospital.

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1
Department of Nursing, Agencia Sanitaria Costa del Sol, Marbella, Malaga, Spain.

Abstract

RATIONALE, AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

A major problem in hospitals is that of falls, which can seriously reduce patients' quality of life. Fall rates vary considerably depending on health care practices, the hospital environment and the measurement method used. The aim of this study was to determine the characteristics of hospitalized acute patients who suffer falls, by analysing the distribution and the profile of these patients.

METHODS:

This is an analytic cross-sectional study conducted at a Spanish hospital. All patients who suffered a fall during hospitalization in 2011 were studied by analysing the computerized register of falls. Downton index, circumstances and consequences of falls were analysed. Descriptive statistics, bivariate analysis and logistic regression analysis were performed.

RESULTS:

The frequency of falls was 0.64%. The rate of falls increased with age (mean age: 71.06 years). The highest percentage occurred among patients in the medical care area (63.7%). The probability of suffering a fall was 1.33 times higher among men than women. Differences in age, type of risk of fall and circumstances were found, depending on the type of hospitalization. Multivariate analysis revealed that patients in the medical care area suffered more falls with consequences: 7.01 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.34-36.79], as did the patients classified as 'low risk': 2.40 (CI 95%: 1.02-5.65).

CONCLUSIONS:

Falls have diverse causes. Determining these circumstances can contribute to promoting a culture of prevention and to reducing the injuries provoked by falls. Notification procedures should be standardized in order to enable comparisons among different environments.

KEYWORDS:

accidental falls; clinical safety; evaluation; falls prevention; hospital falls; hospitalized patients

PMID:
24902772
DOI:
10.1111/jep.12187
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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