Inpatient Falls in Freestanding Children's Hospitals
Patricia A. Jamerson, Elaine Graf, Patricia R. Messmer, Heidi W. Fields, Sharon Barton, Anne Berger, Nancy M. Daraiseh, Michele Fix, Myra Huth, Linda Latta, Andrea B. Smith, and Michelle Lunbeck
Patient falls are considered a significant safety risk, but little evidence regarding the significance of falls in children is available. A multisite, observational study of fall events occurring in pediatric inpatients (younger than 18 years of age) from Child Health Corporation of America member hospitals was conducted to determine the prevalence and significance of falls. Fall prevalence was 0.84 per 1,000 patient days with 48% classified as preventable. Injuries occurred in 32%, but only two falls resulted in an increased length of stay; none resulted in permanent disability or death. Only 47% of the children who fell were identified to be at risk for fall. Alert mechanisms were used in 60% and preventive measures in 23%. These findings suggest that while inpatient pediatric fall rates are lower than those of adults, greater diligence in identification and risk reduction may further reduce the prevalence of falls and the proportion of fall-related injuries.