Reducing serious fall-related injuries in acute hospitals: are low-low beds a critical success factor?
Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
© 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Journal of Advanced Nursing
Volume 69, Issue 1, pages 112–121, January 2013
How to Cite
Barker, A., Kamar, J., Tyndall, T. and Hill, K. (2013), Reducing serious fall-related injuries in acute hospitals: are low-low beds a critical success factor?. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 69: 112–121. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2012.05997.x
- Issue published online: 17 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 27 MAR 2012
- Accepted for publication 3 March 2012
- accidental falls;
- injury prevention;
Aim. This article is a report of a study of associations between occurrence of serious fall-related injuries and implementation of low-low beds at The Northern Hospital, Victoria, Australia.
Background. A 9-year evaluation at The Northern Hospital found an important reduction in fall-related injuries after the 6-PACK falls prevention program was implemented. Low-low beds are a key component of the 6-PACK that aims to decrease fall-related injuries.
Design. A retrospective cohort study.
Methods. Retrospective audit of The Northern Hospital inpatients admitted between 1999–2009. Changes in serious fall-related injuries throughout the period and associations with available low-low beds were analysed using Poisson regression.
Results. During the observation of 356,158 inpatients, there were 3946 falls and 1005 fall-related injuries of which 60 (5·9%) were serious (55 fractures and five subdural haematomas). Serious fall-related injuries declined significantly throughout the period. When there was one low-low bed to nine or more standard beds there was no statistically significant decrease in serious fall-related injuries. An important reduction only occurred when there was one low-low bed to three standard beds.
Conclusion. The 6-PACK program has been in place since 2002 at The Northern Hospital. Throughout this time serious fall-related injuries have decreased. There appears to be an association between serious fall-related injuries and the number of available low-low beds. Threshold numbers of these beds may be required to achieve optimal usability and effectiveness. A randomized controlled trial is required to give additional evidence for use of low-low beds for injury prevention in hospitals.