A Closer Look at Pediatric Falls

Thursday, 15 July 2010: 8:30 AM

Patricia R. Messmer, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN1
Patricia A. Jamerson, PhD, RN2
Matt Hall, PhD3
Michele Fix, RN, BSN4
Cindy Asher, RN, CNS5
Kathie Arbuckle, MT, (ASCP), MPA, CPHQ6
Kathleen Adlard, MN, RN7
Sharon Barton, APRN-BC, PhD8
Crystal Bennett, RN9
Anne M. Berger, PhD, MBA, RN, CPHQ10
Carole Cooper, RN, BSN, MHA, CPN11
Heidi Fields, MSN, RN, CPNP2
Patricia Givens, RN, BN, EDM, DHA12
Elaine R. Graf, RN, PhD, PNP13
Jacqueline Harrison, DNS, RN14
Deborah HIll-Rodriguez, ARNP, MSN, CS-BC15
Myra Martz Huth, RN, PhD, FAAN16
Christa Joseph, MSN17
Linda Latta, PhD, RN, CNAA18
Amy Phillips, MSN, APRN-CNS, CCRN19
Nancy Ryan-Wenger, PhD, RN, FAAN20
Andrea Smith, PhD, RN, CPNP21
Kathy Speer, PhD, RN, CPNP22
Carol Wright, BS, RN, MAHSM23
Denise Young, MSN, RN, CPN24
Kristen L. Straka, MSN, RN, CPN25
1Director of Patient Care Services Research, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, MO
2St Louis Children's Hospital, St Louis, MO
3Informatics, Child Health Corporation of America, Shawnee Mission, KS
4Patient Care Services, Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, Kansas City, MO
5Patient Care Services, The Children's Medical Center, Dayton, OH
6Connecticut Children's Medical Center, Hartford, CT
7Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange, CA
8Nursing Department, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
9Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
10Children's Hospital Boston, Boston, MA
11Children's Hospital Central California, Madera, CA
12Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, Nashville, TN
13Department of Clinical & Organizational Development, Children's Memorial Medical Center, Chicago, IL
14Nursing Administration, Children's Hospital, New Orleans, LA
15Nursing Department, Miami Children's Hospital, Miami, FL
16Center for Professional Excellence, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
17Children's Hospital and Research Center-Oakland, Oakland, CA
18Children's Hospital and Regional Medical center, Seattle, WA
19Children's Hospital and Medical Center, Omaha, NE
20Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH
21Nursing Administration, Cook Children's Medical Center, Fort Worth, TX
22Patient Care Services, Children's Medical Center of Dallas, Dallas, TX
23Arkansas Children's Hospital, Little Rock, AR
24Patient Care Services, Riley Hospital for Children, Indianapolis, IN
25Nursing Education Clinical Practice and Research, Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: To discuss the results of a multi-site study of inpatient falls in 26 CHCA Children's Hopsitals

Learning Objective 2: To explore the prevalence, charateristics and related injuries in pediatric patients who fall during hospitalization

Purpose: Although the Joint Commission (JC) and Institute of Medicine (IOM), identify inpatient falls as a significant patient safety risk, research regarding falls in pediatric settings is limited (Jamerson, 2009; Hill-Rodriguez, Messmer, 2008; Razmus, 2006; Graf, 2004; Cooper, 2007).  A prospective multi-site study of inpatient pediatric falls was sanctioned by Child Health Corporation of America (CHCA) to determine prevalence, fall characteristics and related injuries, based on Donabedian’s structure-process-outcome model. Methods: A 70-item data collection tool (content validity established) was used in 26 CHCA pediatric hospitals to abstract data from occurrence reports, patient charts and staff interviews. Data analysis included calculated prevalence rates, descriptive statistics and regression analyses.
Results: Over a six-month period, 770 pediatric falls were reported; prevalence rate- 0.87/1000 patient days. Children who fell were early childhood age (39%), late childhood (32%); adolescence (24%) or infants (5%).   Of those who fell, 70.4% were without injury; 27.5% mild injuries; none suffered serious injury or death.  More falls occurred between noon-6pm with diagnosis of neurologic/developmental delay (21.2%) followed by respiratory (12.7%), gastroinstestinal (11.1%); 74.3% were supervised by an adult during the fall.  Patients who fell were alert (86.6%), oriented (83.3%) and ambulating (27%).  History of falling, gender, impaired balance, sedation, and environmental conditions were not discriminating factors.   Over 50% of patients were identified at high risk using individual hospital’s fall risk assessment tools; less than 29% used GRAF-PIF (12.5%), Humpty-Dumpty (10.4%), or CHAMP (5.7%) tools.
Conclusion: Although fall prevalence rates are lower for pediatrics, as compared to adults, the results indicate that the pediatric fall risk tools need further refinement in an effort to address pediatric falls with adult supervision. These patients were alert, oriented, and ambulating, future research should delineate fall risk factors for pediatric patients, focusing on efforts to prevent serious injury through education and enhanced vigilance for all pediatric patients.