Translating fall risk status into interventions to prevent patient falls

The goal of this project is to prevent patient falls by translating an individual patient's fall risk assessment into a decision support intervention that communicates fall risk status and creates a tailored evidence-based plan of care that is accessible to interdisciplinary team members, paraprofessionals, patients and family members to prevent falls. The incidence of patient falls and related injuries are publicly reported and employed as standard metrics of nursing care quality. Patient falls are serious problems in hospitals. Simply being hospitalized places patients at risk for falls. The most rigorous research to date has been in the area of fall risk assessment and risk factors are well established. This project is significant because it will fill gaps in existing knowledge by establishing links between nursing fall risk assessment, risk communication and tailored interventions to prevent falls. Qualitative methods will be used to identify and describe current barriers, facilitators, and methods to fall risk communication between interdisciplinary team members, paraprofessionals, patients and family members. The qualitative data will provide the foundation for construction of a fall prevention Tool Kit prototype that will be tested on high-risk medical units at four hospitals. One high-risk medical unit at each hospital will be randomly assigned to receive the fall prevention prototype and one will receive usual care as it relates to fall prevention. Measures of key outcomes: this project employs two of the eight National Quality Forum standardized patient sensitive outcome measures and will identify the extent that nursing personnel in acute care hospitals contribute to reducing patient falls and falls with injury. Data analytic strategy: a cluster randomization design will be employed for analysis whereby the intervention is randomized on the unit level within hospitals, and the outcome measured at the patient level. Evaluation methods leverage what is known from earlier studies and overcome challenges and limitations of published fall prevention research.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $300,000.00

Awarded on: 7/30/2007

Time frame: 9/1/2007 - 8/31/2009

Grant Number: 62572


Brigham and Women's Hospital

75 Francis Street
Boston, 02115-6110


Patricia C. Dykes
Project Director