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How preventable are patient falls?

A study published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons examines the effectiveness of fall prevention programs to actually reduce the number of patient falls. Fall prevention is a significant challenge for hospitals, not only in terms of patient well-being but also with regard to costs. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services no longer reimburses hospitals for injuries related to falls that occur inside the hospital that could have been prevented by following evidence-based guidelines.  The authors of the article found no conclusive medical evidence that evidence-based guidelines are effective in fall prevention.

Source: Clyburn, T. A., and Heydemann, J. A. Fall prevention in the elderly: analysis and comprehensive review of methods used in the hospital and in the home. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. 19(7):402-409, July 2011. http://www.jaaos.org/cgi/content/abstract/19/7/402

Posted by the AHA Resource Center, (312) 422-2050, rc@aha.org

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