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Fall-prevention program reduces falls and costs

New data put a dollar figure on patient falls—and give a cost savings for preventing them

January 2023

NEW DATA SHOW that a well-known fall-prevention program can not only reduce the number of patients who fall while in the hospital, but lower costs for hospitals and health care systems.

In a study in JAMA Health Forum, researchers examined how the Fall TIPS (Tailoring Interventions for Patient Safety) Program performed in 33 medical and surgical units in eight hospitals.

The Fall TIPS program is made up of several components. An EHR-based part of the tool allows hospitals to print out literature from the medical record and give it to patients. Hospitals can also hang 11”x17” laminated posters in patient rooms with information on falls.

The Fall Tips program also provides training to help staff identify patients at risk of falling. Staff including nurses also educate patients and their family members about how to prevent falls.

Before the Fall TIPS program was put into place, researchers recorded 2,503 falls and 900 injuries. After the intervention, the number of falls had dropped to 2,078 falls and injuries had dropped to 758.

That’s a 19% reduction in falls and a 20% reduction in falls that caused injury.

And because researchers found the average total cost of a fall was just over $62,000, reducing falls reduced hospitals’ expenses considerably. Over the study period, the two health systems that were part of an economic analysis of falls saved $22 million over about five years.

Researchers said the fall-prevention program helped reduce $14,600 per thousand patient days. According to author extrapolations, the program could save $1.82 billion a year if rolled out to the entire country.

patient-safetyRead about the many innovations and processes put in place in various health care facilities to eliminate adverse events.

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