Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of an intervention programme to reduce falls among geriatric rehabilitation patients.
Design: Pre/post-test design with independent pre-test and matched post-test samples.
Setting: Inpatient geriatric wards in a rehabilitation hospital.
Participants: Seventy-six matched pairs (n = 152) of geriatric rehabilitation patients from one control and one intervention ward participated in the study, and 36 nursing staff surveys were completed.
Intervention: The intervention programme was developed based on interviews and systematic reviews. Educational materials were distributed to patients and families, and preventive measures were implemented.
Main outcome measures: The rates of falls before and after the intervention both within and between the wards were compared, and surveys were completed.
Results: The matched patients presented no significant differences on age, gender or medical conditions. The falls rates, proportion of fallers and length of stay was higher among those in the control ward (P< 0.043). The percentage of fallers and the rate of falls/1000 patient days were lower on the intervention ward after implementation: odds ratio (95% confidence interval) = -2.9 (-6.6, -1.2) and -1.8 (-6.0, 0.5). Thirty of 36 respondents considered the tool to be helpful and beneficial for use on other wards.
Conclusion: The intervention programme was effective in reducing falls among geriatric rehabilitation patients.