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Assisted and Unassisted Falls: Different Events, Different Outcomes, Different Implications for Quality of Hospital Care

Staggs V, et al. | Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. | 2014

A clinician supports a patient's back while the patient sits upright in a Hillrom hospital bed.


Many hospitals classify inpatient falls as assisted (if a staff member is present to ease the patient’s descent or break the fall) or unassisted for quality measurement purposes. Unassisted falls are more likely to result in injury, but there is limited research quantifying this effect or linking the assisted/unassisted classification to processes of care. A study was conducted to link the assisted/unassisted fall classification to both processes and outcomes of care, thereby demonstrating its suitability for use in quality measurement. This was only the second known published study to quantify the increased risk of injury associated with falling unassisted (versus assisted), and the first to estimate the effects of falling unassisted (versus assisted) on the likelihood of specific levels of injury.


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Care Settings: Acute Care

Clinical Focus: Fall Prevention

Content Type: Journal Articles