Impact-absorbing flooring reduced fall injuries by nearly 60 percent in a new study of women in Swedish nursing homes, reports Reuters Health.
Researchers for the study, which is published in the journal Injury Prevention, collected fall and injury data from a nursing home in Sweden with 60 apartments. Six of the apartments were fitted with 12-millimeter flexible impact absorbing tiles.
During the three-year research period, 57 female nursing home residents participated in the study, with 39 falling at least once. Injuries resulted 30 percent of the time on regular flooring, but only 17 percent of the time with the special flooring. Although falls seemed to occur more often on the special flooring, researchers told Reuters Health that nursing home staff may have moved patients at greater risk for falling into the softer flooring areas. The study did not include bathrooms, where patients frequently fall.
INQRI grantees Patti Dykes and Blackford Middleton created a tool designed to prevent patient falls by translating an individual patient's fall risk assessment into a decision support intervention that communicates fall risk status, and creates a tailored plan that is accessible to care team members (including patients and family members).
The team constructed the Fall Prevention Toolkit (FPTK), and conducted a randomized controlled trial to examine whether the FPTK led to a decrease in the incidence of patient falls and a decrease in the incidence of patient falls with injury. The use of their toolkit did significantly lower the incidence of falls in the intervention units and several units wished to continue using the tool after the conclusion of the study. By establishing links between nursing fall risk assessment, risk communication and tailored interventions to prevent falls, Dykes and Middleton hope to raise awareness of fall risks for patients, nurses and other providers and to lower mortality and morbidity for potential fall victims.