Patients who don’t sweat the idea of falling may want to re-think that attitude. A recent inpatient survey suggests that what patients perceive about their own fall risk may shape their level of compliance with fall-prevention strategies.

A media release from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) states that principal investigator Renee Samples Twibell, RN, PhD, CNE, surveyed 158 patients in acute care units at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie, Ind. The 38-item survey asked patients about their confidence to act without falling and their degree of concern about falling.

It also asked them about potential consequences of their falling while hospitalized, and their intention to ask for assistance before taking an action that is deemed high risk for falls.

The survey found that acutely ill patients’ intentions to engage in fall-prevention behaviors during hospitalization decrease when they are not afraid of falling, do not perceive adverse consequences if they do fall, and have increased confidence that they can perform high-risk behaviors without help and without falling, the release explains.

“Strategies to prevent falls have limited success without patients’ participation,” says Twibell, an associate professor in the School of Nursing at Ball State University and a nurse researcher at Indiana University Health Ball Memorial Hospital, in the release.

“Our findings suggest that fear of falling is a key perception for nurses to assess as they develop fall-prevention plans,” she adds.

Even though all study participants had been assessed by nurses as being at risk for falls, more than half reported they were not at all likely or were slightly likely to fall during hospitalization and were confident that they could get out of bed without help and without falling, the release notes.

The release explains that the survey found that more than 75% of participants reported they would call for assistance before getting out of bed to walk to the bathroom, walk around in their hospital room, or walk outside the room. However, 10% indicated that they would not call for help for any mobility-related activities.

Also, approximately 80% of patients surveyed said they would reach for items on the bedside table without help and were confident they could do so without falling.

Nearly half of the respondents were most concerned with walking outside their hospital room. Participants responded as well that even if they did fall, they would still be able to cope alone (69%), be independent (60%), and be active (65%), the release continues.

Survey results are published in the September issue of the American Journal of Critical Care.

[Source(s): American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN), Science Daily]