Journal Article
Multicenter Study
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Risk-adjusted trend in national inpatient fall rates observed from 2011 to 2019 in acute care hospitals in Switzerland: a repeated multicentre cross-sectional study.

BMJ Open 2024 May 16
OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to investigate whether a significant trend regarding inpatient falls in Swiss acute care hospitals between 2011 and 2019 could be confirmed on a national level, and whether the trend persists after risk adjustment for patient-related fall risk factors.

DESIGN: A secondary data analysis was conducted based on annual multicentre cross-sectional studies carried out between 2011 and 2019.

SETTING: All Swiss acute care hospitals were obliged to participate in the surveys. Except for emergency departments, outpatient wards and recovery rooms, all wards were included.

PARTICIPANTS: All inpatients aged 18 or older who had given their informed consent and whose data were complete and available were included.

OUTCOME MEASURE: Whether a patient had fallen in the hospital was retrospectively determined on the survey day by asking patients the following question: Have you fallen in this institution in the last 30 days?

RESULTS: Based on data from 110 892 patients from 222 Swiss hospitals, a national inpatient fall rate of 3.7% was determined over the 9 survey years. A significant linear decreasing trend (p=0.004) was observed using the Cochran-Armitage trend test. After adjusting for patient-related fall risk factors in a two-level random intercept logistic regression model, a significant non-linear decreasing trend was found at the national level.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant decrease in fall rates in Swiss hospitals, indicating an improvement in the quality of care provided, could be confirmed both descriptively and after risk adjustment. However, the non-linear trend, that is, an initial decrease in inpatient falls that flattens out over time, also indicates a possible future increase in fall rates. Monitoring of falls in hospitals should be maintained at the national level. Risk adjustment accounts for the observed increase in patient-related fall risk factors in hospitals, thus promoting a fairer comparison of the quality of care provided over time.

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