Fall prevention: Is the STRATIFY tool the right instrument in Italian Hospital inpatient? A retrospective observational study

Greta Castellini, Antonia Demarchi, Monica Lanzoni, Silvana Castaldi

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Background: Although several risk assessment tools are in use, uncertainties on their accuracy in detecting fall risk already exist. Choosing the most accurate tool for hospital inpatient is still a challenge for the organizations. We aimed to retrospectively assess the appropriateness of a fall risk prevention program with the STRATIFY assessment tool in detecting acute-care inpatient fall risk. Methods: Number of falls and near falls, occurred from January 2014 to March 2015, was collected through the incident reporting web-system implemented in the hospital's intranet. We reported whether the fall risk was assessed with the STRATIFY assessment tool and, if so, which was the judgement. Primary outcome was the proportion of inpatients identified as high risk of fall among inpatients who fell (True Positive Rate), and the proportion of inpatients identified as low-risk that experienced a fall howsoever (False Negative Rate). Characteristics of population and fall events were described among subgroups of low risk and high risk inpatients. Results: We collected 365 incident reports from 40 hospital units, 349 (95.6%) were real falls and 16 (4.4%) were near falls. The fall risk assessment score at patient's admission had been reported in 289 (79%) of the overall incident reports. Thus, 74 (20.3%) fallers were actually not assessed with the STRATIFY, even though the majority of them presented risk recommended to be assessed. The True Positive Rate was 35.6% (n = 101, 95% CI 30% - 41.1%). The False Negative Rate was 64.4% (n = 183, 95% CI 58.9%-70%) of fallers, nevertheless they incurred in a fall. The STRATIFY mean score was 1.3 ± 1.4; the median was 1 (IQQ 0-2). Conclusions: The prevention program using only the STRATIFY tool was found to be not adequate to screen our inpatients population. The incorrect identification of patients' needs leads to allocate resources to erroneous priorities and to untargeted interventions, decreasing healthcare performance and quality.

Original languageEnglish
Article number656
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 15 2017


  • Accidental falls
  • Incident reporting
  • Patient safety
  • Risk assessment tools

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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