Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.S.

Degree Granting Department

Nursing

Major Professor

Susan C. McMillan, Ph.D.

Keywords

Oncology, Acute care, Anemia, Hemoglobin, Alkaline phosphatase

Abstract

Inpatient falls are the most reported incidents in the acute care setting. Symptoms associated with a diagnosis of cancer and treatment may increase risk for falls. The objectives of this study were to identify the risk factors, and the most common risk factors, of adult patients with cancer who fell while hospitalized. A retrospective, matched, case-control audit of electronic medical records and occurrence reports was conducted for 30 patients who fell and 30 patients who did not fall while under the care of the inpatient oncology unit in a community hospital. Fall subjects and controls were matched by cancer diagnosis and age. Results of the study (N = 30) revealed altered cognition (p = .010), muscular weakness (p = .037), and a history of a fall in the past six months (p = .045) as statistically significant fall risk factors. The audit of the electronic medical records revealed variations in the nursing documentation of fall risk factors that could increase the chance of assessments being omitted or communicated inaccurately to other members of the care team. Additional studies are needed to examine risk factors for falls in hospitalized oncology patient populations.

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