Aims and objective: To estimate the increased care demand and medical costs caused by falls in nursing homes. Background: There is compelling evidence that falls in nursing homes are preventable. However, proper implementation of evidence-based guidelines to prevent falls is often hindered by insufficient management support, staff time and funding. Design: A three-round Delphi study. Methods: A panel of 41 experts, all working in nursing homes in the Netherlands, received three online questionnaires to estimate the extra hours of care needed during the first year after the fall. This was estimated for ten falls categories with different levels of injury severity, in three scenarios, that is a best-case, a typical-case and a worst-case scenario. We calculated the costs of falls by multiplying the mean amount of extra hours that the participants spent on the care for a resident after a fall with their hourly wages. Results: In case of a noninjurious fall, the extra time spent on the faller is on average almost 5 hr, expressed in euros that add to € 193. The extra staff time and costs of falls increased with increasing severity of injury. In the case of a fracture of the lower limb, the extra staff time increased to 132 hr, expressed in euros that is € 4,604. In the worst-case scenario of a fracture of the lower limb, the extra staff time increased to 284 hr, expressed in euros that is € 10,170. Conclusions: Falls in nursing homes result in a great deal of extra staff time spent on care, with extra costs varying between € 193 for a noninjurious fall and € 10,170 for serious falls. Relevance to clinical practice: This study could aid decision-making on investing in appropriate implementation of falls prevention interventions in nursing homes.

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Journal of Clinical Nursing
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Sterke, C., Panneman, M., Erasmus, V., Polinder, S., & van Beeck, E. (2018). Increased care demand and medical costs after falls in nursing homes: A Delphi study. Journal of Clinical Nursing. doi:10.1111/jocn.14488