Hospital falls prevention with patient education: A scoping review

Hazel Heng, Dana Jazayeri, Louise Shaw, Debra Kiegaldie, Anne-Marie Hill, Meg E. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Background: Hospital falls remain a frequent and debilitating problem worldwide. Most hospital falls prevention strategies have targeted clinician education, environmental modifications, assistive devices, hospital systems and medication reviews. The role that patients can play in preventing falls whilst in hospital has received less attention. This critical review scopes patient falls education interventions for hospitals. The quality of the educational designs under-pinning patient falls education programmes was also evaluated. The outcomes of patient-centred falls prevention programs were considered for a range of hospital settings and diagnoses. Methods: The Arksey and O'Malley (2005) framework for scoping reviews was adapted using Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Eight databases, including grey literature, were searched from January 2008 until February 2020. Two reviewers independently screened the articles and data were extracted and summarised thematically. The quality of falls prevention education programs for patients was also appraised using a modified quality metric tool. Results: Forty-three articles were included in the final analysis. The interventions included: (i) direct face-to-face patient education about falls risks and mitigation; (ii) educational tools; (iii) patient-focussed consumer materials such as pamphlets, brochures and handouts; and (iv) hospital systems, policies and procedures to assist patients to prevent falls. The included studies assessed falls or education related outcomes before and after patient falls prevention education. Few studies reported incorporating education design principles or educational theories. When reported, most educational programs were of low to moderate quality from an educational design perspective. Conclusions: There is emerging evidence that hospital falls prevention interventions that incorporate patient education can reduce falls and associated injuries such as bruising, lacerations or fractures. The design, mode of delivery and quality of educational design influence outcomes. Well-designed education programs can improve knowledge and self-perception of risk, empowering patients to reduce their risk of falling whilst in hospital.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
Number of pages12
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Falls
  • Healthcare
  • Hospital
  • Injury
  • Patient education
  • Physiotherapy
  • Prevention

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