Review Article

Factors influencing patient falls in a private hospital group in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape

Renee Janse van Rensburg, Anita van der Merwe, Talitha Crowley
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 25 | a1392 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v25i0.1392 | © 2020 Renee Janse van Rensburg, Anita van der Merwe, Talitha Crowley | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 10 December 2019 | Published: 30 June 2020

About the author(s)

Renee Janse van Rensburg, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Anita van der Merwe, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Talitha Crowley, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: The fall rate of patients in hospitals is a worldwide concern due to the impact falls have on patients, the family or relatives, as well as the healthcare setting. Factors influencing patient falls are categorised as intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic factors refers to physical conditions and the extrinsic factors include the environment of the patient, nursing staffing levels and skill mix.

Aim: The study aimed to determine the factors that influence patient falls.

Setting: A private hospital group in the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape.

Methods: A quantitative retrospective descriptive research approach was used by analysing 134 records of patients that have fallen from October 2016 to February 2018. Data was collected using a data extraction sheet and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS).

Results: Intrinsic factors contributing to patient falls includedthe patient’s age, hypertension, co-morbidities and the use of benzodiazepines as a sedative. Extrinsic factors were the incorrect use of bed rails and the skill mix of the staff. In over half of the cases (n = 68; 50.7%), risk assessments were not performed according to the protocol. Only 5 (3.7%) patients sustained major injuries due to the falls. However, the risk of more severe falls increased 2.4 times with the lack of risk assessment.

Conclusion: The lack of accurate and consistent patient fall risk assessments, use of benzodiazepines as a sedative and the staff skill mix were contributors to the fall rate in these hospitals.


Keywords

private hospitals; patient falls; intrinsic factors; extrinsic factors; hospitals

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