The Evolution of Injurious Fall Reduction and the Promotion of Healthy Aging
Beginning in 2007, the American Journal of Nursing and the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing collaborated on a series called “How to Try This,” offering multimedia content on evidence-based tools and best practices in geriatric care for the nursing community. The project received grant support from The John A. Hartford Foundation.
One of the earliest entries in the series was Predicting Patient Falls, which features an educational article and a video to educate nurses on how to use the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model in clinical practice. “Try this” content about the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model, including a case example about an 80-year old woman with new onset confusion and urinary incontinence, also appeared in other publications, such as the Annals of Long-Term Care.
Fast-forward to 2020, and the reduction of modifiable fall risk factors has never been more urgent. The rate of death from falls among persons 65 or older increased 31% from 2007 to 2016. In the years since the publication of the “Try this” resources, the Hendrich II Fall Risk Model has continued to demonstrate its ability to predict and reduce injurious falls in diverse populations within complex health care ecosystems, appearing in numerous peer-reviewed articles and validation studies in the United States and abroad.
Yet, a valid fall-risk assessment tool, as part of a comprehensive patient assessment, is only the first step in effective fall prevention and the promotion of healthy aging. A state-of-the-art injurious fall prevention program demands that the assessment tool be used correctly and consistently by interprofessional teams and that its use leads to specific interventions that target the modifiable root causes of a person’s fall risk, supporting a holistic approach to healthier aging. In short, it demands that an organization reimagine its culture around how fall reduction is achieved.