Patients’ thoughts on their falls in a rehabilitation hospital: a qualitative study of patients with stroke

Saika Aihara, Shin Kitamura, Masayuki Dogan, Sachiko Sakata, Kunitsugu Kondo, Yohei Otaka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Patients with stroke in rehabilitation wards are at an increased risk of falling. Although patients’ participation in establishing medical safety is considered crucial, there is limited evidence on their perspectives of falls. This study aims to comprehensively elucidate the subjective falling experience of patients with stroke who have been admitted to rehabilitation wards. Methods: Twenty-three consecutive patients with stroke (44 to 90 years) who experienced a fall during hospitalisation were interviewed within 1 week after the fall, and thematic analysis was used to analyse the data. Results: Five themes surrounding fall events were extracted from the narratives: ‘Psychological background before the action’, ‘Support for the action’, ‘Direct causes of the fall’, ‘Patients’ awareness after the fall’, and ‘Changes in attitudes and behaviours after the fall’. ‘Psychological background before the action’ comprised hastiness or hesitation to call for help. Participants often took an action based on ‘Support for the action’ derived from their past experiences of moving safely, their confidence, and/or motivation to challenge themselves to move. ‘Direct causes of the fall’ consisted of unfamiliar actions, training fatigue, the surrounding environment, reduced physical function due to paralysis, lack of attention, overconfidence in their ability, and insufficient prediction of falls. ‘Patients’ awareness after the fall’ consisted of re-affirming difficult movements, the need for rehabilitation, a reduced ability to move, an increased risk of falling, the need for attention while moving, a fear of falling, and a lack of lessons learned from falling. Finally, patients demonstrated ‘Changes in attitudes and behaviours after the fall’ such as embodying a positive attitude to cope with the risk of falling or behavioural changes to reduce the risk of falling. Conclusions: Comprehensive information on patients’ perspectives before and after the fall was elucidated, uncovering many aspects including the psychological background for why patients engaged in risky behaviours resulting in falls, presence of positive thinking, and behaviour after the fall. By incorporating the patients’ views on fall incidences and their assessment, we can develop appropriate prevention strategies against falls.

Original languageEnglish
Article number713
JournalBMC Geriatrics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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