Falls in an acute hospital and their relationship to restraint use

Ir J Med Sci. 2005 Jul-Sep;174(3):28-31. doi: 10.1007/BF03169144.


Background: Patient falls are a common complication of hospitalisation. Use of restraints in patients who are perceived to be at risk for falling may lead to injury and even death.

Aims: To determine the frequency of falls and fall-related injuries and the contribution of restraints in a hospital population.

Methods: We analysed incident reports of falls for a single year from a large teaching hospital. Results The fall rate per 10,000 patient days was 13.2 (95%CI 11.6-14.8). Fall rate increased dramatically with increased age. Eighty-two (30.7%) falls resulted in injury, of which 6 (7.3%) were serious. Injuries occurred in 71/247 (29%) unrestrained falls and in 11/20 (55%) falls in patients who were restrained. Injuries were more severe in falls with restraints in place (p < 0.0001).

Conclusions: Restraint use is associated with increased severity of injury in hospital patients who fall.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data*
  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Beds
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Hospitals, Teaching / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Restraint, Physical / adverse effects
  • Restraint, Physical / instrumentation
  • Restraint, Physical / statistics & numerical data*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors