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Accidental falls are the most commonly reported patient safety incident in hospitals. Injuries resulting from falls can increase the length of a hospital stay and costs. Up to one in ten in-hospital falls results in injury or death. Experts agree that programs that are tailored to individual patients’ risks of falling are most effective, but very few hospitals have adopted such programs.
A multidisciplinary INQRI team, led by Patti Dykes, has developed and tested a fall prevention tool kit using health information technology that successfully reduced the number of in-hospital falls among older patients. The tool kit includes a fall risk assessment, a patient-specific prevention plan, a handout for patients and their families and a poster to hang over a patient’s bed. INQRI also funded a team headed by Marita Titler to test fall prevention interventions tailored to patients’ risks for falls. This study involves three Michigan community hospitals which will implement processes to address multiple patient-specific factors that can contribute to and put patients at risk for falls, creating a “targeted risk factor fall prevention bundle” for each patient. INQRI interventions like these are making patients safer.