[A study on fall accident]

H S Lee, M J Kim
Taehan Kanho. the Korean Nurse 1997, 36 (5): 45-62
The study was conducted from November 1995 to May 1996 at the one general hospital in Seoul. The total subjects of this study were 412 patients who have the experience of fall accident, among them 31 was who have fallen during hospitalization and 381 was who visited emergency room and out patient clinic. The purposes of this study were to determine the characteristics, risk factors and results of fall accident and to suggest the nursing strategies for prevention of fall. Data were collected by reviewing the medical records and interviewing with the fallers and their family members. For data analysis spss/pc+ program was utilized for descriptive statistics, adjusted standardized X2-test. The results of this study were as follows: 1) Total subjects were 412 fallers, of which 245 (59.5%) were men and 167 (40.5%) were women. Age were 0-14 years 79 (19.2%), 15-44 years 125 (30.4%), 45-64 years 104 (25.2%), over 65 years 104 (25.2%). 2) There was significant association between age and the sexes (X2 = 39.17, P = 0.00). 3) There was significant association between age and history of falls (X2 = 44.41, P = .00). And history of falls in the elderly was significantly associated with falls. 4) There was significant association with age and medical diagnosis (X2 = 140.66, P = .00), chief medical diagnosis were hypertension (34), diabetes mellitus (22), arthritis (11), stroke (8), fracture (7), pulmonary tuberculosis (6), dementia (5) and cataract (5). 5) There was significant association between age and intrinsic factors: cognitive impairment, mobility impairment, insomnia, emotional problems, urinary difficulty, visual impairments, hearing impairments, use of drugs (sedatives, antihypertensive drugs, diuretics, antidepressants) (P < 0.05). But there was no significant association between age and dizziness (X2 = 2.87, P = .41). 6) 15.3% of total fallers were drunken state when they were fallen. 7) Environmental factors of fall accident were unusual posture (50.9%), slips (35.2%), trips (9.5%) and collision (4.4%). 8) Most of falls occurred during the day time, peak frequencies of falls occurred from 1 pm to 6 pm and 7 am to 12 am. 9) The places of fall accident were roads (22.6%), house-stairs (16.7%), rooms, floors, kitchen (11.2%), the roof-top, veranda, windows (10.9%), hospital (7.5%), ice or snowy ways (5.8%), bathroom (4.9%), playground, park (4.9%), subway-stairs (4.4%) and public-bathrooms (2.2%). 10) Activities at the time of fall accident were walking (37.6%), turning around or reaching for something (20.9%), going up or down stairs (19.2%), exercise, working (17.4%), up or down from a bed (2.7%), using wheelchair or walking aids, standing up or down from a chair (2.2%) and standing still (2.2%). 11) Anatomical locations of injuries by falls were head, face, neck (31.3%), lower extremities (29.9%), upper extremities (20.6%), spine, thorax, abdomen or pelvic contents (11.4%) and unspecified (2.9%). 12) Types of injures were fracture (47.6%), bruises (13.8%), laceration (13.3%), sprains (9.0%), headache (6.6%), abrasions (2.9%), intracranial hemorhage (2.4%) and burns (0.5%). 13) 41.5% of the fallers were hospitalized and average of hospitalization was 22.3 days. 14) The six fallers (1.46%) died from fall injuries. The two fallers died from intracranial hemorhage and the four fallers died of secondary infection; pneumonia (2), sepsis (1) and cellulitis (1). It is suggested that 1) Further study is needed with larger sample size to identify the fall risk factors. 2) After the fall accident, comprehensive nursing care and regular physical exercise should be emphasized for the elderly person. 3) Safety education and safety facilities of the public place and home is necessary for fall prevention.

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