patient safety quality healthcare

Designed Environment’s Impact on Falls in Patient Rooms Examined

A new free research report, entitled, “Contribution of the Designed Environment to Fall Risk in Hospitals” is now available in The Center for Health Design’s Knowledge Repository thanks to support from The Facility Guidelines Institute and IDEAS Institute.

In-patient falls are the largest single category of reported incidents in hospitals, affecting up to 10% of annual hospital admissions.  With such a high number affecting patient safety and operating costs, it is important to understand the range of factors that impact falls and fall risk. This report provides a cross-sectional analysis of 27 units in 12 hospitals and using archival fall data, identifies a number of environmental characteristics associated with greater or fewer falls, including visibility to staff work spaces, presence of a dedicated family space in the room, and bathroom layout.

“Multiple issues need to be considered while making decisions about healthcare interiors. Nowhere is this more evident than in the design of the patient room”, stated Margaret Calkins, Ph.D., M Arch, EDAC, senior research scientist, IDEAS Institute. “Design decisions about the room layout, flooring, lighting, finishes, and furniture, impact a range of healthcare outcomes for patients such as patient satisfaction, hospital acquired infections, patient falls and medical errors. With reimbursement tied increasingly to these hospital-acquired conditions and patient satisfaction, hospital owners and administrators are paying a lot of attention to the factors that impact these outcomes, including the design of the built environment and the design of patient rooms.”

About The Center for Health Design
The Center for Health Design (CHD) is a nonprofit organization that engages and supports professionals and organizations in the healthcare, construction, and design industry to improve the quality of healthcare facilities and create new environments for healthy aging. CHD’s mission is to transform healthcare environments for a healthier, safer world through design research, education, and advocacy. For more information, visit

About The Facility Guidelines Institute
The Facility Guidelines Institute (FGI) is responsible for the Guidelines for Design and Construction of Health Care Facilities that is used as code in over 40 states by facilities, designers, and authorities for the design and construction of new and renovated health care facilities across the nation. These guidelines are updated on a four-year cycle by a group of volunteers - the Health Guidelines Revision Committee (HGRC).

About The IDEAS Institute
The IDEAS Institute is a nonprofit organization that seeks to be a premier resource of information and environment - behavioral research centered on improving care and quality of life for elders.


ABQAURP American Society for Quality American Society for Quality Healthcare Division Consumers Advancing Patient Safety
EMPSF Institute for Safe Medical Practices
Medically Induced Trauma Support Services (MITSS) Medication Safety Officers Society NPSF Partnership for Patient Safety Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine