An analysis of patient accidents in hospital

M. B. Goodwin*, J. I. Westbrook

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


An analysis of patient accidents occurring at St Vincent's Hospital, Sydney in 1990 was undertaken using data obtained from the hospital's computerized accident database. Ward, age and sex specific fall rates were calculated from a total of 800 patient-related accidents and incidents reported. Ninety per cent of all accidents were falls, the majority occurring in patients over the age of 60 years. Female patients experienced a significantly greater rate of accidents than male patients (P < 0.05). No significant difference in the overall fall rates for males and females was found. However males 50 years of age and under were almost twice as likely to fall as females in this age group. More than 50% of patients who fell sustained an injury; 4% of these were serious injuries. The geriatric, neurosciences and HIV wards had the highest rates of patient falls. Nearly 40% of falls involved only 77 patients who fell on multiple occasions. Preventative strategies are discussed. Patient accident data from other Australian hospitals is required for adequate assessment of the incidence of patient accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-149
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian clinical review / Australian Medical Association [and] the Australian Council on Hospital Standards
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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