Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Jan Stube


Accidental Falls -- prevention & control; Algorithms


Falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for people over the age of 65 (Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 2008). Literature indicates that 30-40% of falls are preventable (Sjosten, Vaapia, & Kivela, 2008). The population for this scholarly project is people over the age of 65 who are admitted into Wyoming Medical Center (WMC). WMC is a 180 bed acute care hospital that services the medical needs of the residents of Casper, Wyoming and the surrounding area. Like many acute care hospitals around the country, WMC has a problem with the number of fall occurrences. This fall prevention algorithm and program is going to address this issue. The goal of this scholarly project is to have a significant reduction in the number of falls that occur.

A comprehensive literature review was conducted to explore fall prevention risk factors for the older adult and how to implement effective strategies to reduce the number of falls occurring. Topics researched included:

1. Patient risk factors for the possibility of a fall 2. Consequences of a fall 3. Fall prevention strategies

Also, the literature review focused on the best practice strategies to reduce falls for the older adult. The literature available on fall prevention for the older adult is enormous and the information was gleaned to best meet the needs of the patients of WMC. Based upon the literature review, the fall prevention algorithm was developed as a tool to assist health care providers at WMC to determine each individual patient's risk factors and the best fall prevention strategies. First, the fall prevention algorithm provides the health care providers a user friendly tool to guide them through the process. Second, the health care providers will attend an education session on how the process is to be completed to best serve the needs of their patients. Lastly, the tool includes easy to access screening forms to administer a successful fall prevention program.

This author's expectation is with the implementation of the fall prevention algorithm and program that WMC will have a substantial impact in the reduction of falls for the older population that is admitted into the hospital. This program can be assessed quarterly with the quarterly fall occurrence reports to determine the effectiveness.