Reducing falls can help trusts improve patient experience and reduce costs

As part of our work to reduce harmful inpatient falls and improve patient safety, we commissioned a report into the incidents and economic impact of falls in hospitals.

The report, based on existing evidence and data, provides a picture of the scale of inpatient falls and the benefits to the NHS if the rate falls was reduced in hospitals.

This is following the successful completion of our improvement collaborative which encouraged 19 trusts to adopt improvement methodologies and created a learning community for them to discuss changes and share their findings. 

What results came out of the report?

Using data from the National Reporting and Learning System (NRLS) on reported inpatient falls in 2015/16 the report identified that:

  • in 2015/16 more than 250,000 falls were reported across acute, mental health and community hospital settings
  • 77% of all reported inpatient falls happen to patients over the age of 65
  • the estimated overall cost of £630 million equates to approximately 25% of the £2.3 billion total costs of falls estimated by NICE
  • older patients are both more likely to fall and more likely to suffer harm - falls among this group also have a disproportionate impact on costs as they account for 77% of total falls and represent around 87% of total costs
  • if inpatients falls are reduced by as much as 25-30%, this could result in an annual saving of up to £170 million

We also estimate that overall, the total cost of reported inpatient falls in 2015/16 was £630 million.

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