March 14, 2022

Effect of perioperative fall prevention intervention on postop falls, quality of life

Editor's Note

This study from Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, finds that a multicomponent safety intervention, consisting of patient education, home medication review, and hazard identification in the home environment, was not associated with reductions in falls during the first year after an elective inpatient surgical procedure, but there was an increase in quality of life.

Among 1,396 surgical patients (698 pairs), falls within 1 year after surgery were reported by 228 (32.7%) in the intervention group and 225 (32.2%) in the control group. No significant difference in falls was found between the two groups or in falls leading to injury at 30 days or 1 year.

Adherence to the intervention components were modest from 22.9% for completion of a home safety assessment to 28.2% for implementation of recommended medication changes.

In analyses of secondary outcomes, however, those in the intervention group had better quality of life at 1 year after surgery in both physical and mental domains, compared with the control group. Though the reason for improved quality of life is unclear, the interventions may have been associated with reductions in other postoperative complications or adverse drug effects, which could have mediated improved quality of life.

The findings suggest a need for other interventions to reduce the incidence of postoperative falls, such as those designed to increase adherence, the researchers say.

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