In-Hospital Sequelae of Injurious Falls in 24 Medical/Surgical Units in Four Hospitals in the United States
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© 2018 The Joint Commission Background: Up to 50% of patient falls in the hospital result in injury. This study was conducted to determine whether injurious falls were associated with increased hospital length of stay (LOS), discharge to a place other than home, and in-hospital mortality. Methods: A secondary data analysis from a prospective case-control study was conducted in 24 medical/surgical units in four hospitals in the United States. Patients who fell and sustained an injury were matched with at least one control patient who was on the same unit, at the same time, for a similar number of days on the unit at the time of the fall. Data were collected by viewing patients’ electronic health records, as well as the hospitals’ incident reporting systems. Logistic regression and Cox regression analyses were conducted. Results: The 1,033 patients (mean age, 63.7 years; 510 males [49.4%]) who sustained an injurious fall were matched with 1,206 controls (mean age, 61.6 years; 486 males [40.3%]). Fallers were significantly more likely than controls to stay longer than 10 days in the hospital (odds ratio [OR], 1.59; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.46–1.74) and to be discharged to a place other than home (OR, 1.52; 95% CI = 1.21–1.91). Conclusion: Compared to controls, hospital patients who sustained an injurious fall had longer LOS and were more likely discharged to a place other than home. These associations remained when controlling for patient-level confounders, suggesting that the fall altered trajectory was sustained toward these outcomes. Injurious falls were not significantly associated with increased risk of mortality.
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