Minnesota Hospital Association

Quality & Patient Safety

Preventing Patient Falls

Falls while in the hospital can result in serious injury to the patient, yet falls are one of the most difficult patient safety issues to address because of the multiple potential causes. Patients can fall because of preventable equipment issues such as lack of guard rails or missing slip mats, but also from trying to get out of bed without assistance. Patients who are disoriented or on certain medications are also at risk for falling, and the risk of serious injury from falls increases with age.

According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, falls are the most common adverse event in hospitals. Minnesota hospitals have made fall prevention a top priority and our hospitals are working to reduce and eventually eliminate falls that result in injury. Preventing falls takes cooperation from the entire care team, the patient and his or her family.


In 2007, the Minnesota Hospital Association initiated the Call to Action framework around falls prevention, resulting in SAFE from FALLS. Since SAFE from FALLS began, falls resulting in serious harm to patients have decreased by 25 percent in Minnesota hospitals. SAFE from FALLS provides hospitals with resources of best clinical practice to prevent patient falls, a road map of best practices and a tool kit to implement the road map recommendations in their facilities. Currently, 115 hospitals are participating in SAFE from FALLS, which means they have agreed to implement the best practices as outlined in the roadmap. The SAFE from FALLS roadmap is based on the work of the Veterans Integrated Service Network 8 (VISN 8) Patient Safety Center and Minnesota Adverse Health Event Learnings.

Download the Falls road map.

Download the Behavioral Health Falls road map.


Preventing patient falls toolkit

The tool kit provides best practices that hospitals can use to implement the road map recommendations in their facilities. Hospitals may copy, translate, distribute and present the following SAFE from FALLS Tool Kit items as long as you reference the Minnesota Hospital Association as the source of this material. If the tool is hospital-specific, please also cite the hospital as a source.

Safety coordination – falls prevention program tools

Accurate and concurrent reporting tools

Facility expectations, staff education and accountability tools

Education tools for patients and families

Fall risk screening tools

Assessment of risk factors tools

Linked interventions tools

Learn from events

Safe environment


Road Map Data Submission and Tool Kit Website

National Center for Patient Safety Falls Toolkit

Requirements of SAFE from FALLS initiative participants:

  • Completion of baseline road map data submission and quarterly updates
  • Implementation of the SAFE from FALLS road map components
  • Share learnings with others through conference calls, listserv and other sharing opportunities

Preventing toileting-related falls

MHA and our member hospitals recognized an important need to improve patient safety by reducing toileting-related falls. MHA commissioned Pope Architects and Michael Graves Architecture and Design to conduct research and produce a guideline document that recommends environmental solutions to contribute to minimizing patient falls. The "Creating a Safe Environment to Prevent Toileting-related Falls" report summarizes the research, analysis and recommendations. The document will act as an integral part in the SAFE from FALLS program and road map, and provide a tool for facility assessment and future design solutions as facility projects are implemented in the toilet room.