• falls;
  • preventive strategies;
  • stroke

Falls are a common occurrence in stroke patients admitted to a rehabilitation unit. This study evaluates the effect of current fall risk screening and prevention strategies on the number of falls in stroke patients admitted to an acute rehabilitation facility. All stroke patients admitted to a designated acute rehabilitation unit were considered at risk for falls by virtue of their diagnosis. These patients were studied retrospectively during a 24-month period. Wheelchair lap belts and bedrails were provided to all patients admitted to the unit. Further measures consisting of bed and chair alarms, enclosed beds, and placement in rooms close to the nursing station were implemented with high-fall risk patients. One hundred seventeen (15.5%) of the 754 patients in this study fell. The fall index rate was 8.2 falls, based on patient care days during the study period. No injury was observed in 143 of 159 fall cases (90%). In 13 cases (8%) there were only minor injuries, and 3 falls (2%) resulted in serious injuries. Current preventive strategies decrease the number of falls and the severity of fall-related injuries. Patients who do fall are cognitively impaired on admission and have lower ambulation speed.