A systematic review of falls in hospital for patients with communication disability: highlighting an invisible population

Hemsley, Bronwyn, Steel, Joanne, Worrall, Linda, Hill, Sophie, Bryant, Lucy, Johnston, Leanne, Georgiou, Andrew and Balandin, Susan 2019, A systematic review of falls in hospital for patients with communication disability: highlighting an invisible population, Journal of safety research, vol. 68, pp. 89-105, doi: 10.1016/j.jsr.2018.11.004.

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Title A systematic review of falls in hospital for patients with communication disability: highlighting an invisible population
Author(s) Hemsley, Bronwyn
Steel, Joanne
Worrall, Linda
Hill, Sophie
Bryant, Lucy
Johnston, Leanne
Georgiou, Andrew
Balandin, SusanORCID iD for Balandin, Susan orcid.org/0000-0003-4765-8232
Journal name Journal of safety research
Volume number 68
Start page 89
End page 105
Total pages 17
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication date 2019-02
ISSN 0022-4375
1879-1247
Keyword(s) Communication disability
Falls
Hospital
Patient safety incidents
Risk
Summary BACKGROUND: Patients with communication disability, associated with impairments of speech, language, or voice, have a three-fold increased risk of adverse events in hospital. However, little research yet examines the causal relationship between communication disability and risk for specific adverse events in hospital. OBJECTIVE: To examine the impact of a patient's communication disability on their falls risk in hospital. METHODS: This systematic review examined 61 studies on falls of adult hospital patients with communication disability, and patients at high risk of communication disability, to determine whether or not communication disability increased risk for falls, and the nature of and reasons for any increased risk. RESULTS: In total, 46 of the included studies (75%) reported on participants with communication disability, and the remainder included patients with health conditions placing them at high risk for communication disability. Two thirds of the studies examining falls risk identified communication disability as contributing to falls. Commonly, patients with communication disability were actively excluded from participation; measures of communication or cognition were not reported; and reasons for any increased risk of falls were not discussed. CONCLUSIONS: There is some evidence that communication disability is associated with increased risk of falls. However, the role of communication disability in falls is under-researched, and reasons for the increased risk remain unclear. Practical applications: Including patients with communication disability in falls research is necessary to determine reasons for their increased risk of adverse events in hospital. Their inclusion might be helped by the involvement of speech-language pathologists in falls research teams.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.jsr.2018.11.004
Field of Research 1117 Public Health and Health Services
1701 Psychology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2018, The Authors
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30118549

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