Fall prevention in hospitals and nursing homes: Clinical practice guideline

Worldviews Evid Based Nurs. 2022 Apr;19(2):86-93. doi: 10.1111/wvn.12571. Epub 2022 Mar 9.


Background: Falls and their consequences are particularly common in older adults in hospitals and long-term care (LTC) facilities.

Aim: To avoid falls and their consequences, and provide nurses with an overview of all relevant research literature on fall prevention, and a practice guideline on fall prevention in older adults was developed.

Methods: The development process included a systematic literature review to identify systematic reviews and primary studies on the topic of fall prevention, an assessment of the study quality, the preparation of meta-analyses to summarize the results, and the application of the GRADE (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation) approach to grade the scientific literature. The guideline panel and an external multidisciplinary team graded the recommendations using the Delphi method. In addition, the panel and team formulated expert opinions.

Results: A total of 79 randomized controlled trials on fall prevention were identified, which formed the basis of the recommendations. Strongly recommended measures for both settings included multifactorial interventions, professionally supported body exercise interventions, and education and counselling interventions. The panel and team did not recommend the use of a specific assessment tool for fall risk assessment, low-floor beds in hospitals, or body exercise interventions in frail residents.

Linking evidence to action: During the development of this guideline, particular attention was paid to collecting evidence-based knowledge relevant to practice. By applying the recommendations, the outlined nursing care is justified, enabling healthcare personnel to achieve the overriding goal of providing optimal care to persons at risk of falling. Evidence for several fall prevention interventions was graded as very low. Sound intervention studies are necessary to strengthen the confidence in the evidence for low-floor beds, alarm sensor systems, medication review, and staff education in hospitals.

Keywords: GRADE approach; falls; guideline; hospital; long-term care; nursing home.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Hospitals*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Homes*
  • Risk Assessment