Geriward Falls: An Interprofessional Team‐Based Curriculum on Falls Assessment and Prevention in the Hospitalized Older Adult

1University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA

Meeting: Hospital Medicine 2014, March 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev.

Abstract number: 186


Interprofessional collaboration is key for both student education in geriatrics and in the care of older adults, but is often underemphasized in medical education. Falls are a source of significant morbidity and mortality in the geriatric population. GeriWard Falls is an interprofessional team‐based curriculum focused on actively engaging health professions students to evaluate and examine at patient at the bedside on fall risk assessment and prevention.


GeriWard Falls was developed and implemented for third‐year medical students, fourth‐year pharmacy students, third‐year physical therapy students, and nursing students rotating through the adult medicine hospital service. The objectives included: 1) Identify relevant epidemiology and risk factors for falls; 2) Work as a team of interprofessional students to perform a focused falls risk assessment at the bedside; and 3) Propose a systems‐based intervention to help prevent falls in the hospitalized older adult.


The two hour exercise consisted of three parts: 1) a 60‐minute bedside clinical exercise; 2) Development of a falls care plan and direct communication with the patient and the primary inpatient medical team regarding strategies with recommendations and 3) Completion of clinical questions focused on the geriatric competencies including assessment of fall risk. Interprofessional teams of 4‐5 students interviewed and examined a patient at the bedside, discussed these findings with a hospitalist faculty facilitator, and contacted providers of the primary medical team. The facilitators scored the student teams using a rubric on their falls assessment worksheet, clinical questions, and oral presentation.

A total of 23 students participated in a pilot session. Using a 5‐ point Likert scale, over 90% of students agreed or strongly agreed that they learned skills applicable to future practice. Hospitalist faculty rated the student presentations highly, citing the students’ ability to identify risk factors for falls, as well as identifying opportunities for future systems‐based interventions. The primary medical teams found the recommendations useful, and planned to implement at least one of the recommendations. On the post session survey completed by students, the mean score for each component was 4‐5 (“very good” to “excellent”) including: usefulness of the activity, overall quality of the session and likelihood that students would make changes in clinical activities.


GeriWard Falls is an innovative curriculum that emphasizes interprofessional collaboration during a clinical encounter with a hospitalized older adult. The activity was engaging for students, and helped them achieve competency with fall risk and assessment. Communication of the students’ assessment and recommendations to the primary medical team was not only useful to the primary team, but also helped students understand how systems can affect patient care.

To cite this abstract:

Larson C, Rennke S. Geriward Falls: An Interprofessional Team‐Based Curriculum on Falls Assessment and Prevention in the Hospitalized Older Adult. Abstract published at Hospital Medicine 2014, March 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev. Abstract 186. Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2014; 9 (suppl 2). Accessed April 1, 2020.

« Back to Hospital Medicine 2014, March 24-27, Las Vegas, Nev.