Disparity in Fall Assessments of Older Adults in Healthcare Settings

Friday, 11 July 2008: 10:00 AM
Jennifer A. Snyder, RN, BSN , Acute Medicine, Riverside Methodist Hospital, Columbus, OH

Learning Objective 1: Assess and evaluate fall assessments used in healthcare settings, as well as understad current policies and legislation pertaining to fall prevention.

Learning Objective 2: Understand the importance of proper fall assessment and documentation of falls in relationship to patient health and future research.


With the upcoming increase of geriatrics in the American population, there is no doubt that healthcare concerns surrounding older adults will continue to increase and demand action. The percentage of elderly persons who fall each year continues to increase, especially in the hospital setting. According to reports from the Joint Commission, from 2002 to 2005, the number of sentinel fall events reported by hospitals more than tripled. Although there has been an increased effort to identify risk-factors for falls and implement fall precaution plans, healthcare has yet to establish highly effective, versatile fall reduction programs that reduce incidence of falls across the nation. Review of current legislation and policy regarding falls among the elderly shows a significant lack of evidence-based practice and implementation of fall-reduction programs. Varied definitions of falls, inadequate descriptions and reports, and vague policies all lead to non-conclusive data and a lack of effective treatment.