Medications and Patient Characteristics Associated with Falling in the Hospital

Caroline A. O'Neil, Melissa J. Krauss, Jon Bettale, Anthony Kessels, Eileen Costantinou, W. Claiborne Dunagan, Victoria J. Fraser

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13 Scopus citations


Objectives The aim of this study was to evaluate specific medications and patient characteristics as risk factors of falling in the hospital. Methods This is a case-control study comparing demographic, health, mobility, and medication data for 228 patients who fell between June 29, 2007, and November 14, 2007, at a large tertiary care hospital and 690 randomly selected control patients. Logistic regression was used to identify fall risk factors. Results Independent risk factors of falling included history of falls (odds ratio [OR], 2.7; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.8-4.2); needing an assistive device (OR, 3.2; 95% CI, 1.5-6.8) or person assistance (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.3-3.3) to ambulate; being underweight (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.2-4.7) or obese (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.0-2.5); confusion (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.5-4.0); dizziness (OR, 2.1; 95% CI, 1.1-4.3); incontinence (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.3); and an order for a hydantoin (OR, 3.3; 95% CI, 1.3-8.0) or benzodiazepine anticonvulsant (OR, 2.2; 95% CI, 1.5-3.3), haloperidol (OR, 2.8; 95% CI, 1.2-6.8), tricyclic antidepressant (OR, 2.4; 95% CI, 1.2-4.9), or insulin (OR, 1.5; 95% CI, 1.0-2.1). Female sex (OR, 0.8; 95% CI, 0.6-1.0), proton pump inhibitors (OR, 0.6; 95% CI, 0.4-0.9), and muscle relaxants (OR, 0.4; 95% CI, 0.3-0.7) were associated with lower risk for falling. Conclusions This study identified medications and patient characteristics associated with increased risk for falling in the hospital. High-risk medications identified in this study may serve as targets for medication review or adjustment, which have been recommended as a component of multifaceted fall prevention programs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-33
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of patient safety
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • accidental falls
  • case-control study
  • fall prevention
  • inpatients
  • medications
  • risk factors


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