Aims and objectives: To evaluate the accuracy of the inpatient fall risk screening tool and to identify the most critical fall risk factors in inpatients. Background: Variations exist in several screening tools applied in acute care hospitals for examining risk factors for falls and identifying high-risk inpatients. Design: Secondary data analysis. Methods: A subset of inpatient data for the period from June 2011-June 2014 was extracted from the nursing information system and adverse event reporting system of an 818-bed teaching medical centre in Taipei. Data were analysed using descriptive statistics, receiver operating characteristic curve analysis and logistic regression analysis. Results: During the study period, 205 fallers and 37,232 nonfallers were identified. The results revealed that the inpatient fall risk screening tool (cut-off point of ≥3) had a low sensitivity level (60%), satisfactory specificity (87%), a positive predictive value of 2·0% and a negative predictive value of 99%. The receiver operating characteristic curve analysis revealed an area under the curve of 0·805 (sensitivity, 71·8%; specificity, 78%). To increase the sensitivity values, the Youden index suggests at least 1·5 points to be the most suitable cut-off point for the inpatient fall risk screening tool. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed a considerably increased fall risk in patients with impaired balance and impaired elimination. The fall risk factor was also significantly associated with days of hospital stay and with admission to surgical wards. Conclusions: The findings can raise awareness about the two most critical risk factors for falls among future clinical nurses and other healthcare professionals and thus facilitate the development of fall prevention interventions. Relevance to clinical practice: This study highlights the needs for redefining the cut-off points of the inpatient fall risk screening tool to effectively identify inpatients at a high risk of falls. Furthermore, inpatients with impaired balance and impaired elimination should be closely monitored by nurses to prevent falling during hospitalisations.
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