One of the most common questions asked in falls prevention is what actually constitutes a fall. At first it may be tempting to think that it the dictionary definition is enough, however, in research and in practice the reality is often more complicated than this. The following article highlights some of the different approaches and definitions that have been used in the literature and raises some important questions about reporting standards.
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3 comments… add one
Regarding the willingness of staff to report a fall, could this depend on differences in the simplicity of their reporting procedures, or perhaps the relative willingness of some staff to add this extra task to their workload?
I agree with Ian, a fall can create a lot of paperwork for stressed busy staff.
I find it useful to ask patients if they have had any ‘slips, trips or falls’ rather than just falls as usually they don’t mind ‘confessing’ to near misses such as slips and trips. It tends to dilute the more blunt ‘F’ question. It also highlights those who have not yet fallen and would also benefit from targetted exercises and indeed from a multifactorial falls risk assessment.
Interestingly when I ask various health care professionals for their definition of a fall, more and more are saying things like ‘unintentional’, and ‘lower level’ so I do think the word is getting out there finally!
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