Why is Fall Prevention so important?
Among older adults, Falls are the leading cause of injury deaths, unintentional injuries, and hospital admissions for trauma. Falls can take a serious toll on quality of life and independence. To recognize this critical issue, at the state level, SCR 77 (D-Lowenthal) was passed in 2008 declaring the first week of Fall each year as Fall Prevention Awareness Week.
According to HRET-HEN:
- Among older adults, ages 65 or better, Falls are the leading cause of injury-related death (CDC). Falls are also the most common cause of non-fatal injuries and of hospital admissions for trauma.
- In acute and rehabilitation hospitals, Falls resulting in injury occur in 30% to 51% of patients.
- Falls are associated with increased lengths-of-stay, increased utilization of health care resources, and poorer health outcomes.
- Soft tissue injuries or minor fractures can cause significant functional impairment, pain, and distress. Even “minor” Falls can trigger a fear of falling in older persons, leading them to limit their activity and lose their strength and independence.
Work is being done through the California Hospital Engagement Network (CalHEN) to reduce Falls, and most importantly to reduce injuries from Falls in hospitals. The CalHEN has been working with over 150 hospitals to reduce not only Falls, but also Readmissions due to Falls. To date, this work has accounted for the reduction of Falls by approximately 28 percent, accounting for the prevention of 1066 falls with injuries and over $706,758 in health care savings across the state.
The HQI Falls Toolkit provides tools that work and additional resources as examples for hospitals to implement and develop in their own efforts to reduce harm. Specifically, the checklist on the “Days Since Last Fall Poster” proves effective in Fall reduction efforts.