Falls in hospices: a cancer network observational study of fall rates and risk factors

Pearse, Hazel; Nicholson, Lucy; Bennett, Mike
September 2004
Palliative Medicine;Sep2004, Vol. 18 Issue 5, p478
Academic Journal
Falls have been identified as a problem in frail patient populations, but their risk factors have not been studied prospectively in the hospice setting. We calculated fall rates in three hospices in the Yorkshire region, identified risk factors for falls based on previous studies in elderly patients, and then carried out a prospective study of inpatients in two of these hospices. We compared these risk factors in patients who subsequently fell with patients that did not fall during the study period. Information was recorded on 102 admissions. Twelve patients fell, generating 23 falls; six patients fell more than once. Significant risk factors for falling were cognitive impairment, low systolic lying and standing blood pressure, visual impairment and age over 80. Males with these risk factors fell more often than female patients with these risk factors. Strategies to prevent falls in hospice inpatients need to be directed appropriately towards patients with cognitive and visual impairment and low systolic blood pressure.


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