Patient engagement using low-tech tools is tied to significantly reduced falls and fall-related injuries, a nurse-led hospital trial has found.

The study involved the Fall TIPS (Tailoring Interventions for Patient Safety) Toolkit, an evidence-based falls-prevention intervention. The program previously had been shown to reduce falls by 25% but had no effect on fall-related injuries in earlier studies. 

In the current study, investigators added practical solutions to the intervention that encouraged daily fall-prevention interactions between nurse, patient and family. These included a laminated Falls TIPS poster to display by patients’ beds, and patient-specific prevention plans that could be added to a patient’s electronic health record and printed out or displayed on a computer screensaver. The resulting plans were reviewed with the patient and family at admission and during each shift.

The updated intervention was tested at three academic medical centers among 37,000 patients over approximately 14 months. Once the fall prevention toolkit was implemented, sites reported a 15% reduction in falls and a 34% reduction in injurious falls overall.

Patients aged 65 years and older had the greatest decrease in injuries, at 48% post-intervention, and a 10% reduction in falls, reported Patricia Dykes, Ph.D., RN, of Harvard Medical School. 

The original Fall TIPS Toolkit was most effective among the oldest patients, but the new study found progress in falls prevention among patients younger than 65 years, wrote Dykes and colleagues. 

The toolkit is freely available at

Full findings were published in JAMA Network Open.