The association of malnutrition with falls and harm from falls in hospital inpatients: Findings from a 5-year observational study

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Lackoff, Ariel S
Hickling, Donna
Collins, Peter F
Stevenson, Katherine J
Nowicki, Tracy A
Bell, Jack J
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2019
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Abstract

Background: Inpatient falls continue to be a significant clinical issue, and while malnutrition is a known risk factors for falls, few studies have investigated its association with inpatient falls. This study aimed to explore the independent association between malnutrition and fall risk as well as harm from falls in hospital inpatients. Methods: Malnutrition identified in annual malnutrition audits was combined with inpatient fall data captured through the electronic patient incident reporting system in the 12 months following audit days. Audit data were available for 1,849 inpatients across 2011–2015, and covariate associations between age, gender, BMI, malnutrition, falls and harmful falls were analysed. The reporting of this paper is in accordance with the Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology (STROBE) recommendations (see Appendix S1). Results: The prevalence of malnutrition was 32.4% (n = 543), and 171 (9.2%) inpatients experienced a fall with 0.7% (n = 13) categorised as harmful. In bivariate analysis, patients who fell were more likely to be older (median 79.0 vs. 70.0 years; p <.0001) or malnourished (40.9% vs. 31.5%; p =.021). Malnutrition (p <.0001) and having a lower BMI (p =.026) were significant predictors of harmful falls. Regression modelling demonstrated that only increasing age increased the likelihood of having an inpatient fall (OR 1.022 95% CI 1.021–1.046; p <.0001). Malnourished inpatients were almost 8 times more likely to have a harmful fall than those not malnourished (OR 7.94 95% CI 1.457–43.338; p =.017), independent of age and BMI. Conclusions: Malnourished patients are more likely to experience a harmful fall. Assessment of malnutrition should be incorporated into fall risk assessments as a way of highlighting those patients at greater risk and to link to nutritional care pathways.

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Journal of Clinical Nursing

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29

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3-Apr

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Nursing

Health services and systems

Public health

Psychology

Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

falls

hospitals

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Lackoff, AS; Hickling, D; Collins, PF; Stevenson, KJ; Nowicki, TA; Bell, JJ, The association of malnutrition with falls and harm from falls in hospital inpatients: Findings from a 5-year observational study, Journal of Clinical Nursing, 2019, 29 (3-4), pp. 429-436

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