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To facilitate the development of a hospital falls prevention resource guide, the authors systematically reviewed and documented the existing evidence base for interventions to prevent falls in hospitals, provided an overview of the performance of existing tools with known measurement properties, and compiled available online resources. The search identified a large number of published fall prevention intervention evaluations. Almost all interventions were multi-component in nature and included fall risk assessments and education for staff and patients and/or families. Intervention complexity and organizational implications varied widely. The review also identified a wide variety of tools for the prevention of falls in hospitals; the majority of the documented tools were fall risk assessment scales. Very few tools, such as the Morse Fall Scale and the STRATIFY scale, have been applied in a number of studies and have generalizable reliability and validity estimates. The documented evidence-based interventions and tools may assist in the development of programs to prevent falls in hospitals. Which tools and interventions are suitable for use in individual hospitals must be evaluated in the context of existing approaches, resources, and individual needs. The identified material will be integrated into the AHRQ toolkit as resources to guide fall prevention approaches for hospitals.

The research described in this working paper was performed for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, under the auspices of RAND Health.

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