Evidence-Based Falls Prevention in CAHs (Policy Brief #24)

Document Type

Policy Brief

Publication Date



falls, CAHs, evidence-based, quality improvement, patient safety, hospitals, rural, MRHRC, USM Aging Initiative, Health and Wellness, Policy


Inpatient falls are a serious patient safety problem in Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs). Injuries from falls are also costly -- it is estimated that patients injured in a fall sustain upwards of 60% higher total charges than other hospitalized patients. This brief is one in a series of policy briefs identifying and assessing evidence-based patient safety and quality improvement interventions appropriate for use by state Flex Programs and CAHs.

Key Findings:

  • Hospital falls are a serious patient safety problem, accounting for nearly 84% of all inpatient incidents. Most falls commonly occur as a result of medication related issues, toileting needs, and hospital environmental conditions.
  • Effective falls interventions target both intrinsic (e.g. physiologic) and extrinsic (e.g. environmental) risk factors.
  • Effective falls prevention teams are interdisciplinary and are embedded in a culture of patient safety.
  • Education for and communication across all staff contributes to successful falls prevention programs.

Funding Organization

Office of Rural Health Policy

Grant Number

PHS Grant No. U27RH01080

policybrief24_falls-prevention.pdf (796 kB)
Evidence-Based Falls Prevention in CAHs (Policy Brief #24)