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Risks and suggestions to prevent falls in geriatric rehabilitation: a participatory approach
  1. Edgar Ramos Vieira1,2,
  2. Colleen Berean2,
  3. Debra Paches2,
  4. Larissa Costa3,
  5. Natacha Décombas-Deschamps2,
  6. Penny Caveny2,
  7. Doris Yuen2,
  8. Lauralee Ballash2
  1. 1Department of Physical Therapy, Florida International University, Miami, Florida, USA
  2. 2Specialized Geriatrics, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  3. 3Department of Physical Therapy, Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
  1. Correspondence to Edgar Ramos Vieira, Department of Physical Therapy, Florida International University, 11200 SW 8th St, AHC3: 430, Miami, FL 33199, USA; EVieira{at}


Objective The objective of this study was to establish the rates and to gather information from patients, staff and family members on risks and potential measures to prevent patient falls on geriatric rehabilitation units in a hospital.

Methods The falls recorded in the geriatric rehabilitation units between January 2006 and December 2008 were reviewed to establish their rates (falls/1000 patient days) and locations. Twenty-eight interviews with ten patients, twelve staff and six family members were conducted in one of the units. The identified risks and suggestions were organised using the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) areas—body function and structure, activity and participation, personal and environmental factors.

Results The rates of falls (mean±SD) on the two units evaluated were 7±4 and 8±4. The several risks and potential interventions to prevent falls that emerged from the 28 interviews were presented on figures and tables including examples of the participant quotes.

Conclusions The findings highlight the complexity of the problem and the value of the approach used to increase our understanding of the issues considering the perspectives of patients, staff and family members. The results are being used to construct context-specific interventions to reduce the rates of falls.

  • Accidental falls
  • aged
  • rehabilitation
  • risk
  • prevention & control
  • qualitative research
  • collaborative
  • patient safety
  • patient-centred
  • teamwork

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  • Funding This work was supported by Alberta Health Services (AHS). AHS played no role in the design, execution, analysis and interpretation of data, or writing of the study. Most authors work at and/or for the participating hospital as staff or consultants. However, the need for the study was identified by the authors; our intent was supported by the hospital and by health region representatives without any form of coercion or pressure regarding what would be found or could be published.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the University of Alberta Health Research Ethics Board [File#B-310808].

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.