Relying on myself: The lived experience of being at risk for falling in the hospital among older adults

Hanne Dolan, Cindy Rishel, Jessica G. Rainbow, Ruth Taylor-Piliae

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Inpatient fall rates have not significantly decreased the last decade. Older adults have an estimated 50% greater inpatient fall rate than younger adults. How older adults perceive their own fall risk affects their adherence to fall prevention recommendations. The aim of this phenomenological study was to understand the lived experiences of being at risk for falling in the hospital among older adults. Nine participants (N=9) aged 65 years and older (female=55%) were interviewed twice using online video-conferencing after hospital discharge, and interview data was analyzed using van Manen's interpretive phenomenological method. Five major interpretive themes emerged: Relying on Myself, Managing Balance Problems in an Unfamiliar Environment, Struggling to Maintain Identity, Following the Hospital Rules, and Maintaining Dignity in the Relationships with Nursing Staff. Hospitalized older adults employed their self-efficacy to manage balance problems in the hospital. Additional fall prevention interventions supporting hospitalized older adults’ self-management of fall risk are needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
JournalGeriatric Nursing
StatePublished - Sep 1 2022


  • Accidental falls
  • Health belief model
  • Inpatient
  • Older adults
  • Phenomenology
  • Qualitative

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gerontology

Cite this