evidence-based practice, fall prevention, falls, falls with injury, inpatient falls, self-reflection



  1. Hoke, Linda M. PhD, RN, AGCNS-BC, CCNS, CCRN
  2. Guarracino, Dana BSN, RN


Despite standard fall precautions, including nonskid socks, signs, alarms, and patient instructions, our 48-bed cardiac intermediate care unit (CICU) had a 41% increase in the rate of falls (from 2.2 to 3.1 per 1,000 patient days) and a 65% increase in the rate of falls with injury (from 0.75 to 1.24 per 1,000 patient days) between fiscal years (FY) 2012 and 2013. An evaluation of the falls data conducted by a cohort of four clinical nurses found that the majority of falls occurred when patients were unassisted by nurses, most often during toileting. Supported by the leadership team, the clinical nurses developed an accountability care program that required nurses to use reflective practice to evaluate each fall, including sending an e-mail to all staff members with both the nurse's and the patient's perspective on the fall, as well as the nurse's reflection on what could have been done to prevent the fall. Other program components were a postfall huddle and guidelines for assisting and remaining with fall risk patients for the duration of their toileting. Placing the accountability for falls with the nurse resulted in decreases in the unit's rates of falls and falls with injury of 55% (from 3.1 to 1.39 per 1,000 patient days) and 72% (from 1.24 to 0.35 per 1,000 patient days), respectively, between FY2013 and FY2014. Prompt call bell response (less than 60 seconds) also contributed to the goal of fall prevention.