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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Fall Prevention Knowledge, Attitudes, and Behaviors: A Survey of Emergency Providers

  • Author(s): Davenport, Kathleen
  • Cameron, Amy
  • Samson, Margot
  • Lekand, Jiraporn
  • Liu, Shan Woo
  • et al.
Creative Commons 'BY' version 4.0 license

Introduction: Falls are a frequent reason geriatric patients visit the emergency department (ED). To help providers, the Geriatric Emergency Department Guidelines were created to establish a standard of care for geriatric patients in the ED. We conducted a survey of emergency providers to assess 1) their knowledge of fall epidemiology and the geriatric ED guidelines; 2) their current ED practice for geriatric fall patients; and 3) their willingness to conduct fall-prevention interventions.

Methods: We conducted an anonymous survey of emergency providers including attending physicians, residents, and physician assistants at a single, urban, Level 1 trauma, tertiary referral hospital in the northeast United States.

Results: We had a response rate of 75% (102/136). The majority of providers felt that all geriatric patients should undergo screening for fall risk factors (84%, 86/102), and most (76%, 77/102) answered that all geriatric patients screened and at risk for falls should have an intervention performed. While most (80%, 82/102) answered that geriatric falls prevention was very important, providers were not willing to spend much time on screening or interventions. Less than half (44%, 45/102) were willing to spend 2-5 minutes on a fall risk assessment and prevention, while 46% (47/102) were willing to spend less than 2 minutes.

Conclusion: Emergency providers understand the importance of geriatric fall prevention but lack knowledge of which patients to screen and are not willing to spend more than a few minutes on screening for fall interventions.  Future studies must take into account provider knowledge and willingness to intervene.

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