Experimental identification of potential falls in older adult hospital patients

Aimee Cloutier, James Yang, Debajyoti Pati, Shabboo Valipoor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Patient falls within hospitals have been identified as serious but largely preventable incidents, particularly among older adult patients. Previous literature has explored intrinsic factors associated with patient falls, but literature identifying possible extrinsic or situational factors related to falls is lacking. This study seeks to identify patient motions and activities along with associated environmental design factors in a patient bathroom and clinician zone setting that may lead to falls. A motion capture experiment was conducted in a laboratory setting on 27 subjects over the age of seventy using scripted tasks and mockups of the bathroom and clinician zone of a patient room. Data were post-processed using Cortex and Visual3D software. A potential fall was characterized by a set of criteria based on the jerk of the upper body's center of mass (COM). Results suggest that only motion-related factors, particularly turning, pushing, pulling, and grabbing, contribute most significantly to potential falls in the patient bathroom, whereas only pushing and pulling contribute significantly in the clinician zone. Future work includes identifying and changing precise environmental design factors associated with these motions for an updated patient room and performing motion capture experiments using the new setup.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1016-1020
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number7
StatePublished - May 3 2016


  • Falls
  • Motion capture
  • Motion jerk
  • Older adult patients
  • Patient bathroom and clinician zone


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