Sustained reduction in serious fall-related injuries in older people in hospital

David Fonda, Jennifer Cook, Vivienne Sandler and Michael Bailey
Med J Aust 2006; 184 (8): 379-382.


Objective: To determine whether the rate of falls and associated serious injuries in a hospital aged care setting can be reduced using a multistrategy prevention approach.

Design, setting and participants: Three-year quality improvement project comparing data at baseline (2001) and at 2-year follow-up (2003) after interventions to reduce falls. All patients admitted to the Aged Care Services wards at Caulfield General Medical Centre, Melbourne, between January 2001 and December 2003 were included.

Interventions: Multistrategy approach phased in over 3 months from September 2001 and involving data gathering, risk screening with appropriate interventions, work practice changes, environmental and equipment changes, and staff education.

Main outcome measures: Total number of falls; number of falls resulting in serious injuries (fractures, head injuries, death); staff compliance with the risk assessment.

Results: Over a 2-year period, there was a 19% reduction in the number of falls per 1000 occupied bed-days (OBDs) (12.5 v 10.1; P = 0.001) and a 77% reduction in the number of falls resulting in serious injuries per 1000 OBDs (0.73 v 0.17; P < 0.001). Staff compliance with completing the falls risk assessment tool increased from 42% to 70%, and 60% of staff indicated they had changed their work practices to prevent falls.

Conclusion: A multistrategy falls prevention program in an aged care hospital setting produced a significant reduction in the number of falls and a marked reduction in serious fall-related injuries. Incorporating a falls prevention program into all levels of an organisation, as part of daily care, is crucial to the success and sustainability of falls prevention.

  • David Fonda1,2
  • Jennifer Cook1
  • Vivienne Sandler1
  • Michael Bailey2

  • 1 Aged Care Services, Caulfield General Medical Centre, Melbourne, VIC.
  • 2 Monash University, Melbourne, VIC.



We would like to thank the Victorian Department of Human Services (DHS) for project funding and Bayside Health and CGMC Falls Prevention Team for their dedicated work.

Competing interests:

The DHS was not involved with study design, data collection, analysis, interpretation of results or preparation of our article for publication.

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