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Risk Factors for Falls among Hospitalized Trauma Patients

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Inpatient falls lead to an injury in 30 per cent of cases and serious injury in 5 per cent. Increasing staffing and implementing fall prevention programs can be expensive and require a significant use of resources. We hypothesized that trauma patients have unique risk factors to sustain a fall while hospitalized. This is a retrospective cohort study from 2005 to 2010 of all trauma patients admitted to an urban Level I trauma center. Patients who fell while hospitalized were compared with patients who did not fall to identify risk factors for sustaining an inpatient fall. There were 16,540 trauma patients admitted during the study period and 128 (0.8%) fell while hospitalized. Independent risk factors for a trauma patient to fall while hospitalized included older age (odds ratio [OR], 1.02 [1.01 to 1.03], P < 0.001), male gender (OR, 1.6 [1.0 to 2.4], P = 0.03), blunt mechanism (OR, 5.1 [1.6 to 16.3], P = 0.006), Glasgow Coma Score at admission (OR, 0.59 [0.35 to 0.97], P = 0.04), intensive care unit admission (OR, 2.3 [1.4 to 3.7], P = 0.001), and need for mechanical ventilation (OR, 2.2 [1.2 to 3.9], P = 0.01). Trauma patients who fell while hospitalized sustained an injury in 17 per cent of cases and a serious injury in 5 per cent. Inpatient falls in hospitalized trauma patients are uncommon. Risk factors include older age, male gender, blunt mechanism, lower Glasgow Coma Score, and the need for intensive care unit admission or mechanical ventilation. Trauma patients with these risk factors may require higher staffing ratios and should be enrolled in a formal fall prevention program.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Surgery, Trauma Services, University Medical Center Brackenridge, Austin, Texas, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2013

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