Environmental effects on incidence of falls in the hospitalized elderly
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The aim of this experimental study was to measure the effectiveness of a primary prevention environmental fall intervention using a Fall Prevention Room (FPR) to reduce falls in an inpatient setting. FPRs were equipped with various fall prevention devices including; low beds. shower mats, non-skid double sided socks. non-skid slippers, quickdrying non-skid shower slippers, floor cushions, hipsters, and bed alarms. The study employed a two-group randomized block design that examined the difference in the proportion of falls between the experimental and control groups. The sample was drawn from hospitalized patients. aged 50 or older housed in a combined neurology and rehabilitation unit who scored 45 and greater on the Morse Fall Scale, and were considered at high risk tor falling. One hundred twenty participants were conveniently recruited, 111 participants consented, 64 participants (58%) completed the study, and forty-seven (42 %) participants were lost to early discharge or transfer. Instruments used included an Equipment Safety Checklist, a Hospital Fall Incident Report Form, and patient self-report of falls. Findings revealed that participants were primarily male (97%), while (56%). or black (38%). with a mean age of 64 years (SD = 8.69). There were a total of four fallers among the 64 participants. One was in the experimental group and three were in the control group. A one-tailed Fisher’s Exact Test revealed no differences between the two groups in the proportion of falls (p = .306. N = 6.f., p < .05). Lack of significance can be largely attributed to the small percentage of fallers in the sample . The study needs to be replicated with a larger sample to determine whether this environmental intervention is indeed effective at reducing fall rates. FPR may yet facilitate achievement of the ninth goal of The Joint Commission namely, to "reduce the risk of patient harm resulting from falls" and achievement of Healthy People 2010, 15th goal namely, to “reduce death from falls”.