A failed fall prevention study in an acute care setting: Lessons from the swamp


Associate Professor, Bev O'Connell, Deakin University, School of Nursing, Waterfront Campus, 1 Gheringhap Street, Geelong, Vic. 3217, Australia. Email: bevoconn@deakin.edu.au


Designing and implementing fall intervention studies in acute care settings presents researchers with a number of challenges. To date, there are no fall prevention interventions that have unequivocal empirical support in these settings. Based on the best available evidence a multistrategy fall prevention program was implemented using a pretest–post-test design over a 12-month period. The results indicated no reduction in the fall rate. Contrary to the expected result, the fall rate increased post the implementation of the multistrategy fall prevention program. To assist other researchers understand the contextual and methodological barriers to conducting fall prevention research in acute care settings, this paper discusses the difficulties experienced in this study.