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REFINE (Reducing Falls in In-patient Elderly): a randomised controlled trial

Vass, Catherine D.; Sahota, Opinder; Drummond, Avril; Kendrick, Denise; Gladman, John; Sach, Tracey; Avis, Mark; Grainge, Matthew

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Catherine D. Vass

Opinder Sahota

Professor of Healthcare Research

Professor of Primary Care Research

John Gladman

Tracey Sach

Mark Avis


Background: Falls in hospitals are common, resulting in injury and anxiety to patients, and large costs to NHS organisations. More than half of all in-patient falls in elderly people in acute care settings occur at the bedside, during transfers or whilst getting up to go to the toilet. In the majority of cases these falls are unwitnessed. There is insufficient evidence underpinning the effectiveness of interventions to guide clinical staff regarding the reduction of falls in the elderly inpatient. New patient monitoring technologies have the potential to offer advances in falls prevention. Bedside sensor equipment can alert staff, not in the immediate vicinity, to a potential problem and avert a fall. However no studies utilizing this assistive technology have demonstrated a significant reduction in falls rates in a randomised controlled trial setting.

Methods/Design: The research design is an individual patient randomised controlled trial of bedside chair and bed pressure sensors, incorporating a radio-paging alerting mode to alert staff to patients rising from their bed or chair, across five acute elderly care wards in Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. Participants will be randomised to bedside chair and bed sensors or to usual care (without the use of sensors). The primary outcome is the number of bedside in-patient falls.

Discussion: The REFINE study is the first randomised controlled trial of bedside pressure sensors in elderly inpatients in an acute NHS Trust. We will assess whether falls can be successfully and cost effectively reduced using this technology, and report on its acceptability to both patients and staff.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 10, 2009
Online Publication Date Sep 10, 2009
Publication Date Sep 10, 2009
Deposit Date May 9, 2014
Publicly Available Date May 9, 2014
Journal Trials
Electronic ISSN 1745-6215
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 10
Article Number 83
Public URL
Publisher URL


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