University of Nebraska Medical Center

Fall Definition

Person slipping and falling


A fall definition specifies what “counts” as a fall, and delineates various types of falls (e.g. assisted vs. unassisted) as well as injuries.


All hospital staff need a shared understanding of what constitutes a fall or injury, and what does not. Agreement on what counts as a fall is a necessary step toward a reliable and accurate count of falls and measurement of fall rates.


Review commonly used definitions, such as those suggested by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Consider adopting standardized definitions that are utilized by similar types of facilities to allow for “apple to apple” comparisons of fall counts and rates. For this reason, we recommend avoiding “homegrown” definitions.


Access educational resources below to help you implement this activity.