Development of a Pediatric Fall Risk And Injury Reduction Program
Debra L. Kramlich and Denise Dende
Fall prevention programs that include reliable, valid, and clinically tested screening tools have demonstrated more positive effects for adult and geriatric populations than those not including such assessment. In contrast, because falling is a natural part of growth and development for pediatric patients, progression toward effective prevention programs for this population has proven to be a challenge; a significant impediment is the lack of definition regarding what constitutes a reportable fall. This project explored pediatric health care providers' perceptions of patient falls in order to define a reportable pediatric fall and inform development of a prevention program. A concept analysis of defining attributes, antecedents, and consequences of pediatric falls from literature formed the basis for a set of questions; a convenience sample of 28 pediatric health care providers in an acute care hospital in New England participated in six moderated focus groups. Constant comparison method was used to code the qualitative data and develop themes. Participants unanimously agreed on several points; as expected, their years of experience in pediatric practice provided valuable insight. Three major themes emerged: patient characteristics, caregiver characteristics, and environmental characteristics. Based on factors identified by staff, a screening tool was adopted and integrated into the electronic medical record. Staff were actively engaged in developing definitions, selecting tools, and identifying next steps toward a comprehensive fall reduction program for their patients. As a result, they have embraced changes and advocated successfully for endorsement by the organization.