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PSNet: Patient Safety Network
Journal Article

Inpatient fall prevention programs as a patient safety strategy: a systematic review.

Miake-Lye IM, Hempel S, Ganz DA, et al. Ann Intern Med. 2013;158((5 Pt 2):390-396.

Considered a never event for hospitalized patients, falls that result in serious injury remain relatively common despite increased attention to the issue. This systematic review identified approaches used to successfully implement fall prevention programs and found high-quality evidence that multicomponent interventions—including patient education, discontinuation of harmful medications, and wristband alerts—can significantly reduce inpatient fall rates. Although concerns have been raised that fall prevention programs could have unintended consequences, this review found that potential harms (such as increased use of sedating medications) had not been systematically evaluated. This review was conducted as part of the AHRQ Making Health Care Safer II report, and on the strength of this evidence, fall prevention strategies are considered one of the top ten patient safety strategies ready for implementation now. An institutional approach to fall prevention is discussed in an AHRQ WebM&M perspective.