Between 700,000 and 1 million patients suffer a fall in U.S. hospitals each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Between 30 and 51 percent of falls result in an injury. Falls continue to be the most frequently reported event submitted to the state's Patient Safety Reporting System (PSRS) by hospital providers.
Falls are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries and of hospital admissions for trauma. Falls are associated with increased lengths-of-stay, increased utilization of healthcare resources and poorer health outcomes.
Elderly individuals are at a significantly increased risk for falls, injuries from falls and disability from falls. Moving in between care settings also increases risk, as individuals experience changes in level of need based on diagnoses, co-morbid conditions, response to treatment or the natural changes related to the aging process.
Providers are challenged with designing effective risk assessment mechanisms, establishing follow-up protocols, implementing policies and practices, and educating staff, patients and residents in a way that meets the needs of the communities they serve.
Compared to baseline, New Jersey's hospitals have reduced falls by 43 percent, avoided 833 potential falls and saved $552,236 in unnecessary healthcare costs.