Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


UC San Francisco Previously Published Works bannerUCSF

Reducing medical-surgical inpatient falls and injuries with videos, icons and alarms.

Published Web Location
No data is associated with this publication.

Inpatient falls and subsequent injuries are among the most common hospital-acquired conditions with few effective prevention methods.

To evaluate the effectiveness of patient education videos and fall prevention visual signalling icons when added to bed exit alarms in improving acutely hospitalised medical-surgical inpatient fall and injury rates.

Performance improvement study with historic control.

Four medical-surgical units in one US public acute care hospital.

Adult medical-surgical inpatients units.

A 4 min video was shown to patients by trained volunteers. Icons of individual patient risk factors and interventions were placed at patients' bedsides. Beds with integrated three-mode sensitivity exit alarms were activated for confused patients at risk of falling.

The main outcome measure is the incident rate per 1000 patient days (PDs) for patient falls, falls with any injury and falls with serious injury. The incident rate ratio (IRR) for each measure compared January 2009-September 2010 (baseline) with the follow-up period of January 2015-December 2015 (intervention).

Falls decreased 20% from 4.78 to 3.80 per 1000 PDs (IRR 0.80, 95% CI 0.66 to 0.96); falls with any injury decreased 40% from 1.01 to 0.61 per 1000 PDs (IRR 0.60, 95% CI 0.38 to 0.94); and falls with serious injury 85% from 0.159 to 0.023 per 1000 PDs (IRR 0.15, 95% CI 0.01 to 0.85). Icons were not fully implemented.

The first known significant reduction of falls, falls with injury and falls with serious injury among medical-surgical inpatients was achieved. Patient education and continued use of bed exit alarms were associated with large decreases in injury. Icons require further testing. Multicentre randomised controlled trials are needed to confirm the effectiveness of icons and video interventions and exit alarms.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Item not freely available? Link broken?
Report a problem accessing this item