Comparison of Three Instruments in Predicting Accidental Falls in Selected Inpatients in a General Teaching Hospital
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Accidental patient falls are becoming a major cause of concern for hospitalized inpatients. It is well known that patients who fall once during their hospital stay are more likely to fall again and that fall rates tend to be higher in hospitalized elderly individuals. Concerned health care team personnel recognize that many accidental patient falls may be predicted and, thus, prevented. The best tool to predict falls has not been determined yet. The purpose of this study was to compare the abilities of the Morse Fall Scale (MFS), the Functional Reach (FR) test, and the nurses' clinical judgment in predicting those inpatients on a rehabilitation unit and a geriatric medical ward who were most likely to fall. A total of 98 patients were screened in a 3-month period, with each patient undergoing all three instruments the same day. The results showed that the two objective standardized tests (i.e., MFS, FR) were time consuming and often inconvenient and were no better at prediction than the clinical judgments made by the primary nurses.
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