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Report of the 2011 inpatient falls pilot audit

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This report presents the results of the inpatient falls pilot 2011. The pilot audit examined the organisation of services for inpatients vulnerable to falling in acute hospitals, community hospitals and mental health units, by looking at staffing, policies and reporting of falls and examines the clinical care they receive through bedside observation and case note review.

Key recommendations

The experience of this pilot indicated that a National Audit of Falls in Hospitals is feasible and that all types of inpatient care setting can participate, including small community hospitals and mental health units for older people. It has also shown that the innovative approach of incorporating bedside observation within a National Audit programme is feasible.


Key findings

The data collected shows there is variation in the responses from participating hospitals that can be used to prioritise, support and benchmark local improvements in care. The combination of audit of policy, bedside care, case notes and staff awareness helped identify where systematic change is needed to deliver improvements, and could be a powerful driver for learning and engagement that crosses the boundaries between clinicians and managers.

The overall findings show we are not consistently providing vulnerable patients with the falls prevention interventions that they need, and even at this pilot stage provide an indication of priority areas for improvement common to many participating hospitals.

It is important to note that this was a pilot audit, largely designed to test the feasibility of auditing falls in hospital settings.