Validating components of a falls risk assessment instrument

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Journal Article
International Journal of Health Care Quality Assurance, 2003, 16 (1), pp. 21 - 28
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Falls are a significant burden on the Australian health care budget and can result in loss of personal independence, injury or death. A sustained high rate of inpatient falls in a 550-bed acute care hospital has made it imperative for nurses to identify patients at highest risk, in order to implement preventive interventions. This study examined the prevalence of intrinsic high risk characteristics identified by the literature in people who fell during hospitalization, to confirm the validity of these predictors in detecting risk. Over ten weeks 91 inpatients fell (total 118 falls) and were assessed for intrinsic risk factors. Most prevalent was impaired ambulatory status resulting in balance instability. Other high prevalence factors included cognitive impairment and age > 75. Commonly cited factors, such as urinary or fecal incontinence, medications and history of prior falls, were found less frequently. No significant differences in risk factors by gender were identified.
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