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Bed moves, ward environment, staff perspectives and falls for older people with high falls risk in an acute hospital: A mixed methods study

Toye, C., Slatyer, S., Kitchen, S., Ingram, K., Bronson, M., Edwards, D., van Schalkwyk, W., Pienaar, C., Wharton, P., Bharat, C. and Hill, K.D. (2019) Bed moves, ward environment, staff perspectives and falls for older people with high falls risk in an acute hospital: A mixed methods study. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 14 . pp. 2223-2237.

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Background: Falls remain an important problem for older people in hospital, particularly those with high falls risk. This mixed methods study investigated the association between multiple bed moves and falls during hospitalisation of older patients identified as a fall risk, as well as safety of ward environments, and staff person-centredness and level of inter-professional collaboration.
Methods: Patients aged ≥70 years, admitted through the Emergency Department (ED) and identified at high fall risk, who were admitted to four target medical wards, were followed until discharge or transfer to a non-study ward. Hospital administrative data (falls, length of stay [LoS], and bed moves) were collected. Ward environmental safety audits were conducted on the four wards, and staff completed person-centredness of care, and interprofessional collaboration surveys. Staff focus groups and patient interviews provided additional qualitative data about bed moves.
Results: From 486 ED tracked admissions, 397 patient records were included in comparisons between those who fell and those who did not [27 fallers/370 non-fallers (mean 84.8 years, SD 7.2; 57.4% female)]. During hospitalisation, patients experienced one to eight bed moves (mean 2.0, SD 1.2). After adjusting for LoS, the number of bed moves after the move to the initial admitting ward was significantly associated with experiencing a fall (OR 1.56, 95% CI 1.11–2.18). Ward environments had relatively few falls hazards identified, and staff surveys indicated components of person-centredness of care and interprofessional collaboration were rated as good overall, and comparable to other reported hospital data. Staff focus groups identified poor communication between discharging and admitting wards, and staff time pressures around bed moves as factors potentially increasing falls risk for involved patients. Patients reported bed moves increased their stress during an already challenging time.
Conclusion: Patients who are at high risk for falls admitted to hospital have an increased risk of falling associated with every additional bed move. Strategies are needed to minimise bed moves for patients who are at high risk for falls.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Nursing
Publisher: Dove Press
Copyright: © 2019 Toye et al.
United Nations SDGs: Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being
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