Prevention of falls in the older population is an important issue in patient safety. Assessing patients for fall risk is a standard part of the hospital admission process. The American Geriatrics Society (AGS), in collaboration with the British Geriatrics Society (BGS), revised and published an updated version of its previously published guideline entitled “Falls Prevention in the Older Person.” The updated version is titled “2010 AGS/BGS Clinical Practice Guideline: Prevention of falls in older persons.”
The purpose of this project was to decrease the risk of falling in the older adult population during hospitalization with the utilization of an adapted evidence-based fall prevention algorithm. The decreased risk of falling will lead to a decrease in the number of falls in the older adult acute care patient.
The intervention utilized an adaptation of the algorithm, established within the guideline for the prevention of falls in older persons living in the community within an acute care unit in those patients over 65 years of age.
Evaluation of the adapted algorithm occurred in a twofold process. First, the adapted algorithm was evaluated by comparing the number of falls and the fall rate before and after implementation of the algorithm. Second, the algorithm itself was evaluated with a simple survey given to the registered nurses on the pilot unit that evaluated multiple aspects including ease of use, the education received on the TUG test, the simplicity of the TUG test, and whether or not the adapted algorithm is a beneficial tool. The survey was given through Survey Monkey utilizing an online survey tool.
Falls prevention in the older adult in the acute care setting must be a priority for all healthcare organizations. The importance of falls prevention in the older adult in the acute care setting must be reinforced at all levels of the healthcare organization. The older adult population is growing as will the number of hospital admissions. Nurses provide most of the patient care and spend the most time with patients, which places nurses in the perfect position to be the champions of fall prevention. The use of an algorithms is simple and beneficial, allowing nurses to target specific safety related aspects of patient care. Through the use of the algorithm, healthcare organizations will be able to reduce the risk of falls in the older adult, thus reducing the number of falls in the older adult in the acute care setting.
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