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.