Background People with communication disability following stroke have a significantly increased risk of patient safety incidents in hospital. This review aimed to identify any association between communication disability following stroke and falls in hospital, and to understand more about the circumstances surrounding the falls to inform future research and identify clinical implications.
Method In July 2019, a systematic review of scientific literature on the hospital falls of people with stroke was conducted. Both descriptive analysis and meta-analysis were completed.
Results From 5036 records screened by title and abstract, 162 full text articles were retrieved. 15 studies met inclusion criteria. Falls commonly occurred in the bedroom, during transfers. Meta analysis (n=11) showed no significant association between falls and communication disability. Overall, diagnosis and severity of communication disability were poorly reported in the studies.
Conclusion Research to date reflect no association between communication disability and falls. However, studies lack sufficient data on the diagnostic profile and severity of communication disability for participants with stroke. There is little attention to the environmental factors surrounding falls. Future falls research for this group should include information on diagnosis and measures of severity of communication disability and greater attention to the circumstances leading up to, occurring during, and following the falls.
Learning Outcomes To understand the evidence on any association between communication disability and falls in hospital patients with stroke.
To identify any clinical implications for improving the safety for hospital patients with stroke and communication disability.
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