Which factors influence the prevalence of institution-acquired falls? Results from an international, multi-center, cross-sectional survey

M. Hoedl, D. Eglseer*, N. Bernet, I. Everink, A.L. Gordon, C. Lohrmann, S. Osmancevic, B. Saka, J.M.G.A. Schols, S. Thomann, S. Bauer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose Falls are a highly prevalent problem in hospitals and nursing homes with serious negative consequences such as injuries, increased care dependency, or even death. The aim of this study was to provide a comprehensive insight into institution-acquired fall (IAF) prevalence and risk factors for IAF in a large sample of hospital patients and nursing home residents among five different countries. Design This study reports the outcome of a secondary data analysis of cross-sectional data collected in Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the United Kingdom in 2017 and 2018. These data include 58,319 datapoints from hospital patients and nursing home residents. Methods Descriptive statistics, statistical tests, logistic regression, and generalized estimating equation (GEE) models were used to analyze the data. Findings IAF prevalence in hospitals and nursing homes differed significantly between the countries. Turkey (7.7%) had the highest IAF prevalence rate for hospitals, and Switzerland (15.8%) had the highest IAF prevalence rate for nursing homes. In hospitals, our model revealed that IAF prevalence was associated with country, age, care dependency, number of medical diagnoses, surgery in the last two weeks, and fall history factors. In nursing homes, care dependency, diseases of the nervous system, and fall history were identified as significant risk factors for IAF prevalence. Conclusions This large-scale study reveals that the most important IAF risk factor is an existing history of falls, independent of the setting. Whether a previous fall has occurred within the last 12 months is a simple question that should be included on every (nursing) assessment at the time of patient or resident admission. Our results guide the development of tailored prevention programs for persons at risk of falling in hospitals and nursing homes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)462-469
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Nursing Scholarship
Issue number4
Early online date17 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • accidental falls
  • hospital
  • institutional fall
  • nursing home
  • prevalence
  • risk factors

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