Characteristics of those who fall during orthopedic hospitalization - A retrospective case-control study

Merav Ben Natan*, Yaniv Yonai, Nimrod Goldschmid, Yaron Berkovich

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The causes of falls are heterogeneous and represent an interaction between patient and environmental factors. This study aimed to explore the characteristics of patients who fell in an in-patient orthopedic department and explore possible reasons for their falls. Methods: A retrospective case-control study of adults in an orthopedic in-patient setting at a major hospital, who sustained a fall. Sociodemographic and medical characteristics of randomly sampled patients who fell (cases, n = 128) and their controls (n = 128) were compared. Results: Fallers were younger, had less comorbidities, took less medications, and had a shorter length of stay than non-fallers. Moreover, fallers' reasons for hospitalization were not necessarily associated with limited mobility. Fall events occurred most frequently from the patient's bed, in the bathroom and during night shifts. Conclusions: Our study portrays atypical fallers; that is, patients who had no obvious risk factors for falls and, thus, were not expected to fall. It appears that reduction in falls among high-risk patients may artificially create a population of atypical fallers. The patients may overestimate their abilities and avoid asking for assistance. Our findings suggest that emphasizing the importance of asking for assistance among both low-risk and high-risk patients as well as male and female patients should be an integral part of patient education in orthopedic departments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100868
JournalInternational Journal of Orthopaedic and Trauma Nursing
StatePublished - Nov 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Falls
  • Orthopedic department
  • Risk factors


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