Category: Nursing Essay


Preoperative pediatric patient falls are considered an important and costly problem in the United States healthcare system. It leads to lacerations, internal bleeding, consequently leading to increased health care utilization, critical morbidity, mortality, and prolonged periods of staying in the hospital. Children, as well as elder people, are defined as vulnerable patients. Therefore, they need special attention in order to organize appropriate acute care services, such as collaborative techniques discussed by Kingston, Bryant, and Speer (2010). This paper summarizes and synthesizes the information about inpatient falls prevention. It divides preoperative patient falls into physical, physiologically expected, physiologically unexpected, responding to treatment, developmental, horseplay, or accidental categories. It shows the genesis of preventive approach starting from the National Patient Safety Goal Agency’s standard model investigation, including the approach, which is based on considering every child to be in a risk group, but not predicting an exact group that needs prevention.


In the United States, falls are recognized to be the leading cause of nonfatal injuries occurring in healthcare practice. The children from birth to 19 years old were registered to have more than 2 million calls per year, and therefore a pediatric patient fall is defined as a safety concern. Patient fall is defined as any unexpected descent to the floor of a hospitalized patient with or without injury. It is considered to be a medical error the solution for which should be regulated both by healthcare quality and regulatory decisions. A patient fall may be characterized as an unplanned plummet of the carpet with or without the damage of the patient. Annually around 700 thousand – 1 million people in the United States fall in the hospitals. It was observed that from 1.3 to 8.9 per 1000 occupied beds experience patient falls in the hospitals of the United States. Falls in preoperative pediatric patients may result in fractures, lacerations, internal bleeding, causing prolonged health care, critical morbidity, mortality, and a long period of stay in the hospital. Nonetheless, falls among pediatric inpatients are still poorly researched.

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Identified Trends

Most often identified cases of patient fall occur among elderly patients. The main reasons for their falls are the lack of staff communication, space orientation, and training; improper patient assessment; physical environment and care planning. Research shows that almost one-third of falls can be prevented. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, since 2008 certain types of traumatic injuries are not reimbursed by the clinics. Moreover, many consequences occur after the actual fall. Therefore, prevention of falls becomes the hospitals’ first priority. Therefore, the medical staff is supposed to address the issue, keep the patient safe, and bring about the recuperation of physical and mental capacity. However, it is hard for doctors and nurses to distribute their attention to direct hospital services and fall prevention equally. Up to 2010, only one initiative focused on fall prevention programs and risk evaluation existed. In 2005, a National Patient Safety Goal agency was founded. It aimed to spread fall prevention programs among the hospitals. The standard approach for pediatric fall prevention was to consider all the children at risk of falling. The proportion of patients per nurse was about 3-4 to 1. Moreover, this model included 24-hour supervision. Although the model was evaluated as effective, the lack of risk of falling was the weak side of the approach.

According to the Joint Commission, patient falls are considered to be one of the top five essential events. Janice Morse’s analysis shows that approximately 14% of all falls in clinics are accidental, another 8% are unanticipated, and 78% are anticipated falls. Pediatric patient falls are divided on the basis of physical, physiologically expected, physiologically unexpected, response to treatment, developmental, horseplay, or accidental categories. Most hospitals use the classification developed through the algorithms by the National Coordinating Council for Medication Error Reporting and Prevention based on two levels of medical error: 1) the capacity to cause an error and 2) an occurred error. According to this algorithm, the harm is defined as an impairment of the physical, emotional, or psychological function or structure of the body and/or pain resulting therefrom.