Risks and suggestions to prevent falls in geriatric rehabilitation: a participatory approach

BMJ Qual Saf. 2011 May;20(5):440-8. doi: 10.1136/bmjqs.2010.042382. Epub 2011 Jan 5.


Objective: The objective of this study was to establish the rates and to gather information from patients, staff and family members on risks and potential measures to prevent patient falls on geriatric rehabilitation units in a hospital.

Methods: The falls recorded in the geriatric rehabilitation units between January 2006 and December 2008 were reviewed to establish their rates (falls/1000 patient days) and locations. Twenty-eight interviews with ten patients, twelve staff and six family members were conducted in one of the units. The identified risks and suggestions were organised using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) areas--body function and structure, activity and participation, personal and environmental factors.

Results: The rates of falls (mean ± SD) on the two units evaluated were 7 ± 4 and 8 ± 4. The several risks and potential interventions to prevent falls that emerged from the 28 interviews were presented on figures and tables including examples of the participant quotes.

Conclusions: The findings highlight the complexity of the problem and the value of the approach used to increase our understanding of the issues considering the perspectives of patients, staff and family members. The results are being used to construct context-specific interventions to reduce the rates of falls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Aged
  • Hospital Units / organization & administration*
  • Hospital Units / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Qualitative Research
  • Rehabilitation Centers / organization & administration*
  • Rehabilitation Centers / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Safety Management / organization & administration*