Date of Award

Summer 8-22-2020

Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)



First Advisor

Camille Payne PhD,RN

Second Advisor

Norma Teran DNP, RN


Background: Every year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of patients fall in hospitals with 30 to 50 percent resulting in injury. In Texas, the fall rate in adult patients is 33.9 percent, and in one teaching hospital in South Texas, patient fall rates have been above the national benchmark for two years (2017-2019), despite increased use of sitters for patient safety and multiple fall prevention strategies. The annual direct care cost of all fall events in the United States for individuals more than 65 years old is about $34 billion.

Practice problem: The objectives of the fall initiative program were increasing adherence to documentation of data from the Morse Fall Assessment and tailored interventions in the electronic health record. The goal of the project was to promote patient safety by decreasing the fall rate per 1000 patient days to below the national benchmark of 3.44/1000 patient days.

Intervention: The project was piloted in two telemetry units over 12 weeks using the Iowa Model of Evidence-based Practice. Telemetry staff received one-on-one education from the educator in the unit using a tailored intervention poster. The Nurse Champion observed 58 rooms and conducted chart documentation to ensure universal fall precautions were carried out during every shift. Incidence of falls was tracked daily, and post fall huddles were conducted after any incidents.

Outcome: The average monthly fall rate after implementation was 2.47/1000 patient days, which was below the national benchmark.

Conclusion: The fall assessment documentation in two telemetry units at DHR Health can be adapted or implemented hospital-wide. The results showed a statistically significant correlation between the Morse fall score assessment on EHR and monthly fall events (p=0. 0078). Champions were able to identify interventions and areas that needed to be improved such as education, patient engagement and stakeholder buy-in.


Scholarly project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor Nursing Practice.

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