New Report Examines How Environmental Design Impacts Falls In Patient Rooms

In-patient falls are the largest single category of reported incidents in hospitals, affecting up to 10% of annual hospital admissions. With such a high number impacting patient safety and operating costs, it is important to understand the range of factors that trigger falls and increase fall risk.

With this in mind, a new free research report entitled Contribution of the Designed Environment to Fall Risk in Hospitals is now available. This report, with support from The Center for Health Design, provides a cross-sectional analysis of 27 units in 12 hospitals. It uses archival fall data and identifies a number of environmental characteristics associated with greater or fewer falls, including visibility to staff work spaces, presence of a dedicated family space in the room, and bathroom layout.

“Multiple issues need to be considered while making decisions about healthcare interiors. Nowhere is this more evident than in the design of the patient room,” stated Margaret Calkins, Ph.D., M Arch, EDAC, senior research scientist, IDEAS Institute. “Design decisions about the room layout, flooring, lighting, finishes, and furniture impact a range of healthcare outcomes for patients such as patient satisfaction, hospital acquired infections, patient falls, and medical errors. With reimbursement tied increasingly to these hospital acquired conditions and patient satisfaction, hospital owners and administrators are paying a lot of attention to the factors that impact these outcomes, including the design of the built environment and the design of patient rooms.”