Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Nursing

Major Professor

Susan C. McMillan, Ph.D., A.R.N.P.

Keywords

Peripheral stem cell transplant, Oncology, Falls, Risk factors, Morse Fall Scale

Abstract

Falls are a contributing factor to increased morbidity in the elderly and chronically ill populations and can affect overall quality of life. The literature indicates that oncology patients are a particularly vulnerable population who are further at risk for falls due to increased age, treatment related fatigue, side effects of medications, co-morbidities, decreased muscle tone, altered mental status, and anemia. Although patients with cancer are at a high risk for falls, this is not a well-documented patient problem in the nursing literature. This study examined the validity of the use of the Morse Fall Assessment Tool for use with Bone Marrow Transplant patients and explored other variables that might influence fall outcomes. This study was a retrospective chart review. The sample consisted of a total of 59 patients, which included 29 fallers and 30 non-fallers on a bone marrow transplant unit.

There were 22 males and 37 females, ranging in age from 20 to 70 with a mean age of 53.9 (SD= 12.2).The results of this study indicate that there is a significant difference between fallers' (M= 43.8) and non-fallers' (M= 26.8) scores on the Morse Fall Scale (p= 0.000). Significant differences between groups were found with history of falls (p= 0.042), secondary diagnosis (p= 0.015), and muscle weakness (p= 0.025). Laboratory results from fallers and non-fallers revealed significant differences in platelet count (p= 0.003), BUN (p= 0.032), glucose (p= 0.009), and phosphorous (p= 0.001). This is the first study to document falls in the bone marrow transplant population. This study should be a stimulus for future studies conducted in the oncology and/or bone marrow transplant population. Studying falls in these patients is essential to understanding the physiological risk factors that may contribute to patient falls.

Findings lay the foundation for studying falls in the bone marrow transplant population. It is crucial to study falls in this population in order to make appropriate assessments and interventions to keep this population free from injury.

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