National Audit of Inpatient Falls – Audit report 2020

Reports | Published: 13 May 2021

Falls are the most common incident affecting hospital inpatients, and one of their most serious consequences is a hip fracture. This report covers 2020 England and Wales facilities audit data and is supported by National Hip Fracture Database (NHFD) clinical audit data from 1 January to 31 December.

Many healthcare professionals had to focus on the COVID-19 response in 2020, and in response, NAIF extended its clinical audit deadline to the end of 2020. As a result, this report focuses solely on facilities data and a further clinical data report will be published in autumn 2021.

74% of eligible trusts and health boards took part in the facilities audit, reduced from 77% last year; these numbers are still encouraging in the context of the challenges posed by COVID-19.

The report shows that hip fractures sustained in an inpatient setting continue to be associated with poorer outcomes including a two-fold increase in 30-day mortality.

The findings also showed that fewer organisations claim to report all inpatient hip fractures as serious harm, which is a recommendation in this report (70% in 2020 compared to 76% in 2019).

NICE guidelines advise against the use of fall risk screening tools, instead recommending a multi-factorial risk assessment for all inpatients over the age of 65, however despite this, the report found there was a small increase in the proportion of organisations using the screening tools.

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National Audit of Inpatient Falls – Audit report 2020