Implementation of the MEDFRAT to Promote Quality Care and Decrease Falls in Community Hospital Emergency Rooms

J Emerg Nurs. 2018 May;44(3):280-284. doi: 10.1016/j.jen.2017.10.007. Epub 2017 Nov 3.


Abstractpurpose: To identify and implement an evidence-based fall-risk assessment tool for use in emergency departments at Essentia Health, a large, primarily rural health care delivery system with 12 emergency departments.

Methods: The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Quality Care was used to guide the process. The Memorial Emergency Department Fall-Risk Assessment Tool (MEDFRAT) was programmed into the electronic medical record, along with interventions that could be selected for 2 fall-risk levels. An education session was developed for emergency nurses about falls and MEDFRAT, with planned time for discussion about any concerns in the implementation of MEDFRAT. MEDFRAT was selected for implementation by nursing leadership because it is evidence based and appeared to be conducive to implementation in the diverse emergency departments across 12 sites in 3 states.

Results: Education sessions were presented to nurses at 11 of 12 emergency departments. Suggestions to support site-specific implementation were programmed into the electronic health record. Nurses expressed appreciation that they were consulted, and their feedback was incorporated into the tool before it was implemented. Resources needed at each site to implement recommended MEDFRAT interventions in the tool were identified. Needed resources were then provided to the emergency departments before implementation of MEDFRAT.

Conclusions: The Iowa Model was a useful framework to select an evidence-based tool and then engage nurses in the process of implementing evidence-based practice changes in emergency departments across a diverse health care system serving a largely rural population. Ongoing follow-up will determine if this process results in fewer falls.

Keywords: Accident prevention; Accidental falls; Emergency hospital service; Risk assessment.

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Accidental Falls / statistics & numerical data
  • Emergency Service, Hospital*
  • Hospitals, Community*
  • Hospitals, Rural
  • Humans
  • North Dakota
  • Program Evaluation / methods*
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Wisconsin