University of Nebraska Medical Center

Fall Definition Education

Print Resources

  • Definition of a Fall: The Agency for Healthcare Research Common Formats for Event Reporting - Hospital Version 2.0 uses the following definition for a fall:
    A fall is a sudden, unintended, descent of a patient’s body to the ground or other object (e.g., onto a bed, chair, or bedside mat) that can be assisted (i.e., when a patient begins to fall and is assisted to the ground or other object by another person) or unassisted.
  • Fall Definition and Types Handout: The Fall Definition and Types Handout created by the UNMC CAPTURE Falls Team describes four different types of falls – unassisted vs. assisted, and injurious vs. non-injurious – illustrated with case examples of each type.
  • Factors Associated with Unassisted and Injurious Falls: A research study published in BMC Geriatrics by the UNMC CAPTURE Falls team reports factors associated with unassisted and injurious falls, supports the idea that assisted falls are more desirable than unassisted falls, and promotes the use of gait belts to assist patient mobility.
  • Tension Between Promoting Mobility and Preventing Falls: An editorial published in JAMA Internal Medicine discusses how too strong of a focus on reducing all falls may lead to unintended consequences of reduced patient mobility. The article promotes the concept that assisted falls are a “good” thing because it means that staff was assisting the patient with mobility at the time and were able to control the fall.