Understanding and managing the risk of "head impact" from in-hospital falls: A cross-sectional analysis of data from 166 public hospitals

Satyan R. Chari, Paul Varghese, Rebecca A.R. Bell, Kate Smith, Terry P. Haines

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METHODS: All reported falls across public hospital facilities in the state of Queensland, Australia, over a 2-year period were analyzed using univariate and multiple logistic regression.

BACKGROUND: Falls are a leading cause of preventable harm in the hospitalized elderly, and head impacts (HIs) can be a precursor to serious injury. The aim of this study was to examine if the risk of fall-related HI can be explained by incident characteristics.

RESULTS: In all, 650 instances of HI were reported across 24 218 falls. Falls due to fainting were associated with elevated HI odds (odds ratio [OR] = 2.00, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.30, 3.08). Similarly, falls while walking (OR = 1.48, 95% CI = 1.20, 1.81) and falls during certain time periods, namely, from 11:00 pm to midnight (OR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.24, 2.59) and between 5:00 am and 6:00 am (OR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.01, 2.22) were linked to increased HI odds. Falls among males were associated with lowered odds of HI (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 0.78, 95% CI = 0.64, 0.74).

CONCLUSIONS: Results confirm links between characteristics of inpatient falls and the likelihood of HI, and these data can assist risk managers to better target fall prevention strategies. Assisted mobility in high-risk patients and improved environmental lighting are advanced as foci for future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Healthcare Risk Management
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017

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