Post-fall assessments need more structure, researchers find

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Post-fall assessments need to be standardized to examine and prevent future falls, a recent Canadian study found.

PFAs allow clinicians to identify the cause for a fall and develop ways to prevent future falls. The study assessed the effectiveness of the PFAs in Canadian facilities.

More than 92% of facilities reported that falling was an issue at their facility, and all used PFA reports. The majority also completed incident reports.

However, the facilities lacked a standard format for how they should put together the reports, researchers found. Only 4% asked about information on environmental conditions or the neurologic profile of the resident. Six percent included information on resident footwear, and none listed mobility or balance issues in their reports.

“PFA has an important role to play in improving resident-level care as well as institution-level programs and policies in this area,” study authors wrote. “The present study highlights the need for a more systematic and evidence-based approach to address the significant issue of falls in LTCFs.”

The researchers recommend facilities maximize their use of PFAs in addition to incident reports. They also suggest the consideration of an evidence-based PFA tool that records an adequate level of information.

More than 50% of long-term care residents experience at least one fall per year.

The research was published in Annals of Long-Term Care: Clinical Care and Aging.