Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Objectives: Falls are a major public health burden for individuals and society. They are associated with loss of independence, functional decline and are a contributing reason for subsequent admission to long-term care. The financial burden associated with injurious falls is substantial. This study aims to evaluate whether the introduction of portable nursing stations within bays of hospital wards led to a change in the rate of inpatient falls. Methods: Data on inpatient falls from local hospital incident reporting software (Datix) were collected monthly between April 2014 and March 2017 across 17 wards within two UK hospitals (Stoke Mandeville & Wycombe General). The outcome was the monthly rate of falls per 1000 occupied bed days (OBDs). Using a natural experimental study design and interrupted time series analysis we assessed whether trends in fall rates changed following the introduction of portable nursing stations in April 2016. Results: A total of 2322 falls were reported during the study period, and 59% (1344/2276) occurred in men. The overall median age of fallers was 81. 99.3% of falls (2306/2322) were classified as either none, low or moderate harm with 0.5% (12/2322) resulting in severe harm and less than 0.2% (4/2322) resulting in death. Up to April 2016, the monthly rate of falls were increasing by 0.127 per 1000 OBDs [p=0.002 95% CI (0.051, 0.204)]. After the intervention was introduced, the monthly rate of falls was decreasing by 0.437 per 1000 OBDs [p=0.003 95% CI (-0.710, -0.163)]. At 12 months post-intervention, the absolute difference in the rate of falls between the estimated post-intervention trend and the pre-intervention projected estimate was 4.59 falls per 1000 OBDs. This was a relative percentage reduction of 46.3%. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that the introduction of portable nursing stations was temporally associated with a reduction in the monthly rate of falls. This intervention has the potential to be applied across the NHS and may reduce the number of inpatient falls.



Publication Date



falls prevention, natural experiment, interrupted time series