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Hospital falls prevention with patient education: a scoping review

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posted on 2023-09-11, 01:35 authored by Hazel HengHazel Heng, Dana JazayeriDana Jazayeri, Louise ShawLouise Shaw, D Kiegaldie, AM Hill, Meg MorrisMeg Morris
Background: Hospital falls remain a frequent and debilitating problem worldwide. Most hospital falls prevention strategies have targeted clinician education, environmental modifications, assistive devices, hospital systems and medication reviews. The role that patients can play in preventing falls whilst in hospital has received less attention. This critical review scopes patient falls education interventions for hospitals. The quality of the educational designs under-pinning patient falls education programmes was also evaluated. The outcomes of patient-centred falls prevention programs were considered for a range of hospital settings and diagnoses. Methods: The Arksey and O'Malley (2005) framework for scoping reviews was adapted using Joanna Briggs Institute and PRISMA-ScR guidelines. Eight databases, including grey literature, were searched from January 2008 until February 2020. Two reviewers independently screened the articles and data were extracted and summarised thematically. The quality of falls prevention education programs for patients was also appraised using a modified quality metric tool. Results: Forty-three articles were included in the final analysis. The interventions included: (i) direct face-to-face patient education about falls risks and mitigation; (ii) educational tools; (iii) patient-focussed consumer materials such as pamphlets, brochures and handouts; and (iv) hospital systems, policies and procedures to assist patients to prevent falls. The included studies assessed falls or education related outcomes before and after patient falls prevention education. Few studies reported incorporating education design principles or educational theories. When reported, most educational programs were of low to moderate quality from an educational design perspective. Conclusions: There is emerging evidence that hospital falls prevention interventions that incorporate patient education can reduce falls and associated injuries such as bruising, lacerations or fractures. The design, mode of delivery and quality of educational design influence outcomes. Well-designed education programs can improve knowledge and self-perception of risk, empowering patients to reduce their risk of falling whilst in hospital.


This scoping review was conducted as part of a National Health & Medical Research Council Australia grant (1152853) in partnership with Healthscope, Holmesglen Institute, La Trobe University, Curtin University and several other Australian universities.


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BMC Geriatrics



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Springer Nature



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© The Author(s) 2020 This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated in a credit line to the data.

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