Falls in a psychiatric unit

Yun Fang Tsai, Natalie Witte, Marie Radunzel, Mary L. Keller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

26 Scopus citations


The purposes of this descriptive study were to document the prevalence of previously identified risk factors for falls in a group of acutely ill psychiatric patients, to determine if patients who fell differed from nonfallers with respect to risk factors, and to describe the circumstances surrounding falls that occurred on an inpatient unit. All patients admitted to an acute psychiatric unit during a 7-month period were entered into the study (N = 197). Twice a day, nurses who worked on the unit completed a fall-risk factors checklist for each patient. When a fall occurred, an additional instrument designed to measure circumstances associated with the fall was completed. The most frequently occurring risk factors were clinical diagnoses of depression and confusion or disorientation. Seventeen patients fell during their hospitalization. Compared with nonfallers, patients who fell were more likely to have a previous history of falls, generalized weakness, confusion or disorientation, difficulty with mobility or walking, elimination problems, and temperature elevation. Analysis of circumstances surrounding falls showed that the majority of falls occurred when patients were attempting to get out of bed, walk to the bathroom at night, or change from a sitting to a standing position. Findings from this research can be used to identify psychiatric patients who are at risk for falls during their hospitalization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Nursing Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


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