A new toolkit to help reduce falls and fall-related injuries among hospital patients is highly effective, a new study shows.
Falls are the leading cause of preventable injury, so researchers set out to create a fall prevention toolkit for patients and their families.
It includes measures such as a laminated poster to display by patients’ beds, and personalized prevention plans that can be included in patients’ electronic health records and printed out or displayed on a computer screensaver.
The researchers tested the toolkit among more than 37,000 patients at three hospitals — Brigham and Women’s in Boston, and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center Hospital in New York City — between September 2015 and November 2016.
The toolkit led to a 15% reduction in patient falls and a 34% reduction in fall-related injuries, according to the study published recently in the journal JAMA Network Open.
“Our study highlights just how important it is to engage with patients for prevention,” said Patricia Dykes, a senior nurse scientist at Brigham and Women’s.
“If you partner with your patient to identify the risks and talk about how we can prevent them as a team, then patients and families respond to this and rise to the occasion,” Dykes added in a hospital news release.
The toolkit — which is available for free online — is being used at Brigham and Women’s and Mass General Brigham, and has been adopted by 150 hospitals in the United States and other countries.
Dykes and colleagues continue to seek feedback from nurses to get ideas on how to make the toolkit even better.
“This work represents a collaboration across disciplines and the input of nurses, patients and their families,” Dykes said. “Falls take a staggering toll on patients and families, and we remain focused on continuing to decrease the rates of falls, especially injurious falls, at our hospital and globally.”
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