Preventing Patient Falls

Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths in New Hampshire among people ages 65 and over.

Fall Prevention help down the hallNew Hampshire Falls Facts
(This information is from WISQARS and NHUDDS)

  • Falls are the leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among people 65-85+ with 210 deaths.
  • There were 12,045 older adults treated for fall-related injuries in emergency departments and hospitals
  • Total approximate cost for NH older adult hospitalizations (inpatient and emergency departments) was $416.5 million
  • Combined cost related to older adult injury deaths (ages 65+) in New Hampshire totaled $33,576,000, including the cost of work lost
  • For those hospitalized for falls, approximately 68% of the falls occurred in or near the home and 18.6% at a residential institution
  • Approximately 33% of hospitalizations falls were due to fracture and 15% was due to traumatic brain injury.
Falls Prevention Group Lauren Sirignano RN, Whitney Fish RN Clinical Leader, Meaghan Ringlein RN, Mary Hulse LNA and in Front Holly Butler RN
(l-r) Lauren Sirignano RN, Whitney Fish RN Clinical Leader, Meaghan Ringlein RN, Mary Hulse LNA and in front Holly Butler RN

Although most of those falls occur in or near the home, a team at Speare has been working diligently to decrease patient falls and harm to patients who may fall in the hospital. The team of nurses and licensed nursing assistants, from the day and night shifts, looked at workflow and reviewed patient falls.

When the Inpatient Fall’s group consisting of team members from Nursing, Lab, Respiratory, Quality, Physical Therapy, Staff Education Development, and the Medical-Surgical Unit came together, they made it a priority to review the fall data; when falls occurred, where they occurred and conditions at the time of the fall. Based on their review they determined that the majority of falls reported are related to using the restroom. The group suggested a trial of additional bars in the bathrooms to increase stability. This trial was successful, and bars will now be added to all the inpatient bathrooms.

Through evidence-based interventions, assessments and teamwork we are working together to prevent falls at SMH.