Falls in the hospital have clinical, financial, and reputational implications. Falls are one of the most commonly reported adverse events in the hospital.1 Falls with serious injuries are consistently among the Top 10 sentinel events reported to the Joint Commission. Ten to thirty percent of falls result in serious injuries such as fractures, lacerations, or internal bleeding, and even death.2 In one study, fall with injury patients added 6.3 days to the hospital stay compared to non-fallers.3 It has been concluded that close to one third of falls can be prevented.1
The financial implications of falls with injury are great, costing organizations up to $32.4 billion.1 Furthermore, CMS no longer reimburses organizations for costs associated with injurious falls. Fall prevention strategies are monitored by regulatory agencies such as CMS and the Joint Commission. Falls with injury is a Magnet recognized nurse-sensitive indicator of quality. Falls with injury also have an impact on an organization’s reputation. Leapfrog safety grading is used by the population to decide which hospital to receive care, and falls with injury is a metric reported publicly for all hospitals in the nation.
To find your hospital’s grade for falls with injury and other metrics, click here.
Holley Farley, BSN, RN
Nursing Coordinator for Clinical Quality in the Office of Nursing Professional Practice
Johns Hopkins Hospital
1 PSNet. Patient safety primer: falls. AHRQ. January 2019.
2 Hoffman, G. J., Hays, R. D., Shapiro, M. F., Wallace, S. P., & Ettner, S. L. (2017). The costs of fall‐related injuries among older adults: Annual per‐faller, service component, and patient out‐of‐pocket costs. Health services research, 52(5), 1794-1816.
3 Wong, C. A., Recktenwald, A. J., Jones, M. L., Waterman, B. M., Bollini, M. L., & Dunagan, W. C. (2011). The cost of serious fall-related injuries at three Midwestern hospitals. The Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety, 37(2), 81-87.