Incidence and Risk Factors of Falls and Fall-Related Injuries at the Medical and Surgical Wards of the Philippine General Hospital

Juanito S. Javier,1 Cynthia D. Ang-Muñoz,2 Lorna R. Abad,3 Mildred B. Campo,4
Ruzanne M. Caro5 and Evangeline E. Rafael4

1Department of Orthopedics, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
2Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
3Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila
4Division of Nursing Research and Development, Philippine General Hospital
5Department of Otorhinolaryngology, College of Medicine and
Philippine General Hospital, University of the Philippines Manila

Objective. There is no published local data available on falls and fall-related injuries among hospitalized patients. This study aims to determine the incidence of falls, fall-related injuries and related risk factors at the surgical and medical wards of a tertiary government hospital in the Philippines.

Methods. This is a cross-sectional study using consecutive sampling of patients admitted to the medical and surgical wards of a tertiary government hospital from May 2014 to April 2015. Data collection included the patients’ demographic data, diagnosis, medications, details on the fall, consequence of the fall, and risk factors for the fall.

Results. During the one-year period, 25,849 patients were admitted to the medical and surgical wards and only six patients, representing 0.02%, were reported to have sustained a fall. No major injury occurred. The patients had varied neurologic and/or musculoskeletal disorders. Two patients fell from a wheelchair, while one fell from a bedside chair. One patient fell from the bed and one slipped on the floor. All patients had watchers/witnesses at the time of the fall.

Conclusion. The incidence of falls and fall-related injuries is low in a local tertiary government hospital. No serious injury resulted from the falls. Prevailing practices, local cultural expectations and under reporting may have affected the relatively low incidence rates of patient falls reported in this study.

Key Words: accident, falls, hospital, incidence, health care