Factors influencing patient falls in a private hospital group in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape

Janse van Rensburg, Renee ; Van der Merwe, Anita ; Crowley, Talitha (2020)

CITATION: Van Rensburg, R. J., Van Der Merwe, A. & Crowley, T. 2020. Factors influencing patient falls in a private hospital group in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape. Health SA Gesondheid, 25:a1392, doi:10.4102/hsag.v25i0.1392.

The original publication is available at https://hsag.co.za/index.php/hsag

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund

Article

Background: The fall rate of patients in hospitals is a worldwide concern due to the impact falls have on patients, the family or relatives, as well as the healthcare setting. Factors influencing patient falls are categorised as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors refers to physical conditions and the extrinsic factors include the environment of the patient, nursing staffing levels and skill mix. Aim: The study aimed to determine the factors that influence patient falls. Setting: A private hospital group in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape. Methods: A quantitative retrospective descriptive research approach was used by analysing 134 records of patients that have fallen from October 2016 to February 2018. Data was collected using a data extraction sheet and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS). Results: Intrinsic factors contributing to patient falls includedthe patient’s age, hypertension, co-morbidities and the use of benzodiazepines as a sedative. Extrinsic factors were the incorrect use of bed rails and the skill mix of the staff. In over half of the cases (n = 68; 50.7%), risk assessments were not performed according to the protocol. Only 5 (3.7%) patients sustained major injuries due to the falls. However, the risk of more severe falls increased 2.4 times with the lack of risk assessment. Conclusion: The lack of accurate and consistent patient fall risk assessments, use of benzodiazepines as a sedative and the staff skill mix were contributors to the fall rate in these hospitals.

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