Preoperative patient education reduces in-hospital falls after total knee arthroplasty

Henry D. Clarke, Vickie L. Timm, Brynn R. Goldberg, Steven J. Hattrup

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background Inpatient hospital falls after orthopaedic surgery represent a major problem, with rates of about one to three falls per 1000 patient days. These falls result in substantial morbidity for the patient and liability for the institution. Questions/purposes We determined whether preoperative patient education reduced the rate of in-hospital falls after primary TKA and documented the circumstances and the injuries resulting from the falls. Patients and Methods We reviewed data from all 244 patients who underwent primary TKA at a single institution between March and November 2009. Seventytwo patients of one surgeon were enrolled in a preoperative nurse-led education program. This group was compared with a control group of 172 patients who concurrently underwent TKA at the same institution but did not receive preoperative education. Results More control patients had in-hospital falls than those in the education group: seven (one of whom had two falls) of 172 (4%) versus none of 72 (0%), respectively. Three of the eight falls resulted in a serious injury, including one wound dehiscence and one wound hematoma that both required repeat surgery and one clavicle fracture. Conclusions Inpatient falls after TKA may be associated with major complications. Our preoperative patient education reduced these falls and is now mandatory for patients undergoing TKA at our institution. Level of Evidence Level III, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)244-249
Number of pages6
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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