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Falls Reduction

Patient Partnering Reduces Falls

Between 700,000 and 1 million patients fall in hospitals each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

The elderly are at highest risk of falling. Studies have shown that elderly patients taking four or more prescription medications are at three time’s greater risk for falls than are other patients.

Patient Partnering for Fall Prevention - video
See how partnering with our patients helps us reduce falls.

But other patients are at risk if:

  • They have an impaired memory.
  • They have muscle weakness.
  • They use a cane or walker to help them walk.

In 2013, Barnes-Jewish Hospital piloted “Patient Partnering,” an intervention to reduce a patient’s risk of falling, on oncology unit 7900. Patient partnering allows patients to become active participants in preventing their own falls.

How it works

Click image to enlarge
Staff nurses evaluate individual patients for their fall and injury risk factors and in collaboration with advance practice nurses, discuss and agree on prevention measures. They also emphasize the importance of calling for help.

The unit also uses low beds, floor mats and bed alarms that sound when the patient gets out of bed.


This intervention was tested on 55 patients who were at high risk of falling. Eight of these patients were found to be extremely probable to fall, yet not one fell during a hospital stay.

This unit previously reported having one to three serious injuries each month. In 2013, the unit went the entire year with zero falls resulting in serious injury.

With patient partnering, patients understand that asking for help significantly reduces their risk of falling.

Going forward

Based on the success of unit 7900, the hospital’s fall prevention efforts are part of Managing for Daily Improvement (MDI) including:

  • In-depth post fall investigations
  • Unit-based evaluations
  • Patient education
  • Proactive interventions

Your support makes a difference. Give to The Foundation for Barnes-Jewish Hospital today.



In response to the increasing number of elderly patients who experience physical trauma, Barnes-Jewish Hospital launched the first Geriatric Trauma Center in the St. Louis area in 2013. The most common reason the elderly come to the trauma center is due to a fall or fainting.

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