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Preventing Patient Falls

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Learning Objectives

  • Fall risk factors
  • Evidence-based prevention strategies
  • Regular fall assessment

Course Description

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has determined that inpatient falls are an entirely preventable hospital-acquired condition (HAC) and does not reimburse for patient falls. The reality is that care providers cannot prevent all falls. This course will help you to do everything possible to drive the risk of falls as close as possible to zero.

In this course, you’ll learn about risk factors that contribute to falls and evidence-based strategies for preventing falls. Screening and assessment of fall risk should occur with every patient admission, but it should not end with admission. A patient’s fall risk is highly variable. Any patient may be at sudden, increased risk due to physiological changes, medication side effects, and the effects of treatments. Awareness, constant vigilance, and education are the keys to preventing patient falls.

Author Information

Course development was guided by the expertise of Jean Bigelow RN, MN, who is an expert in fall prevention, having worked as a frontline RN for 17 years and in the Quality Patient Safety arena for the past 18 years. She has participated in the Intermountain Healthcare System Fall Prevention Team to develop standard protocols for fall risk assessment, interventions, and best practices for fall reduction. In her role as the Patient Safety Coordinator for five Intermountain Healthcare facilities, she has facilitated multiple performance improvement teams working to reduce patient falls. Jean has also been involved in analyzing fall events, collecting data, creating audit tools, and organizing staff education about falls and fall prevention.

Did You Know...

  • Every 29 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall
  • 1/3 of people age 65 and older fall each year
  • <50% of the Medicare beneficiaries who fell in the previous year talked to their healthcare provider about it
  • >2 million older adults are treated in emergency departments for nonfatal fall injuries each year
  • On average, fall injuries cost hospitals $14,000 per case, and falls cost $19 billion annually in direct costs

Course at a Glance

target audience icon Target Audience:


time to complete icon Time to Complete:

30 Minutes

contributor icon Contributor:

Intermountain Healthcare

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