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J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017 Jul 1;18(7):588-591. doi: 10.1016/j.jamda.2017.01.012. Epub 2017 Mar 6.

Low-Impact Flooring: Does It Reduce Fall-Related Injuries?

Author information

1
Older Persons Health Specialist Service, Canterbury District Health Board; and Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch, New Zealand. Electronic address: carl.hanger@cdhb.health.nz.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

To compare fall rates and injuries from falls on low-impact flooring (LIF) compared with a standard vinyl flooring.

DESIGN:

Prospective, observational, nonrandomized controlled study.

SETTING:

Subacute Older Persons Health ward (N = 20 beds).

PARTICIPANTS:

Older inpatients.

INTERVENTION:

Three different types of LIF.

MEASUREMENTS:

All falls in the ward were prospectively monitored using incident reporting, noting location and consequences of each fall. Fall rates (per 1000 bed days) and injuries, were compared between bedroom falls on LIF against those occurring on standard vinyl flooring (controls).

RESULTS:

Over 31 months, there were 278 bedroom falls (from 178 fallers). The bedroom fall rate (falls per 1000 bed days occupied) did not differ between the LIF and control groups (median 15 [IQR 8-18] versus 17 [IQR 9-23], respectively; P = .47). However, fall-related injuries were significantly less frequent when they occurred on LIFs (22% of falls versus 34% of falls on control flooring; P = .02). Fractures occurred in 0.7% of falls in the LIF cohort versus 2.3% in the control cohort. Rolling resistance when moving heavier equipment, such as beds or hoists, was an issue for staff on LIF.

CONCLUSIONS:

LIF significantly reduced fall-related injuries compared with a standard vinyl flooring, whereas they did not alter the overall risk of falling.

KEYWORDS:

Falls; fall-related injuries; flooring and floor coverings; low-impact flooring; older people

PMID:
28279604
DOI:
10.1016/j.jamda.2017.01.012
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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