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Educating health professionals to optimise falls screening in hospitals: Protocol for a mixed methods study

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posted on 2021-02-02, 04:07 authored by Louise ShawLouise Shaw, D Kiegaldie, Meg MorrisMeg Morris
© 2020 The Author(s). Background: Falls in hospitals remain a major challenge to patient safety. All hospitalised adults are at risk of falling during their inpatient stay, though this risk is not always realised by patients and clinicians. This study will evaluate the outcomes of a hospital clinician education program that teaches clinicians how to screen for falls risk and assign mitigation strategies using clinical reasoning, rather than relying on a standardised falls risk assessment tool (FRAT). The education program aims to increase clinician knowledge, motivation and confidence in screening falls risk and selecting individual falls prevention interventions. Perceptions of the education intervention will also be examined. Methods: Participants will be a sample of convenience of nurses and allied health professionals from five Australian hospitals. For each hospital there will be two cohorts. Cohort 1 will be clinical leaders who shall receive a three-hour education program on the latest evidence in hospital falls risk assessment and how to implement a new falls screening and management tool. They will also be taught practical skills to enable them to deliver an effective one-hour in-service training session to Cohort 2. Cohort 2 will be recruited from the workforce as a whole and include nurses and other health professionals involved in routine hospital falls screening and prevention. The investigation will be framed on Keller's Model of Motivational Design and Kirkpatrick's evaluation framework. It will involve a mixed methods pre and post-test questionnaire design inclusive of semi-structured telephone interviews, to triangulate the data from multiple approaches. Discussion: This study will quantify the outcomes of a high-quality clinician education program to increase knowledge of evidence-based practice for falls prevention. It is predicted that positive behavioural changes will occur in health professionals, leading to organisational change and improved patient outcomes. Furthermore, the findings from the study will inform the future refinement of educational delivery to health professionals across hospital sites. Trial registration: The study has also been approved by the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry: Preventing Hospital Falls: Optimal Screening UTN U1111-1225-8450. Universal Trial Number (UTN): U1111-1228-0041 (obtained 5/2/19). Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR): ACTRN12619000200189 (obtained 12/2/19).


The trial was funded by an Australian National Health and Medical Research Council Project Grant (Morris et al., GNT1152853). This study forms part of the main study 'EMPOWER' -Evidence-based Methods for Preventing and Overcoming falls with Expert Reasoning. The research was conducted independently from the funding body.


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BMC Health Services Research





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Springer Nature



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