Objective To investigate the incidence of falls and explore fall prevention practices at acute care hospitals in Singapore.
Design A retrospective audit to collect baseline data on (1) incidence of falls (patient fall rates and fall injury rates) and (2) fall prevention practices, was conducted in five acute care hospitals in Singapore from December 2004 to March 2005.
Study participants Medical record data (n = 6000) of patients admitted into the medical, surgical and geriatric units in the five hospitals.
Outcome measures Fall incidence was obtained from the hospital’s fall databases and incident reports for the period of June 2003 to May 2004. In total, 6000 medical records from five hospitals were randomly selected, retrieved and reviewed to determine whether falls, fall assessments and interventions were being initiated and documented.
Results The number of fallers for all hospitals was 825. Analysis showed that patient fall rates ranged from 0.68 to 1.44 per 1000 patient days, and the proportion of falls associated with injury ranged from 27.4% to 71.7%. The use of a fall risk assessment tool by nurses was recorded in 77% of all the nursing records.
Conclusion This study has laid the foundation for further research for fall prevention in Singapore by describing current fall rates, fall-associated injury rates and the status of fall prevention practices in acute care settings. The results will be used to inform the development of a tailored multifaceted strategy to facilitate the implementation of Fall Prevention Clinical Practice Guidelines to reduce the burden of falls and fall injuries in hospitals in Singapore.