Implementation of the MEDFRAT to Promote Quality Care and Decrease Falls in Community Hospital Emergency Rooms

Catherine A. McCarty, Theo A. Woehrle, Stephen C. Waring, Allise M. Taran, Laura A. Kitch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Purpose: To identify and implement an evidence-based fall-risk assessment tool for use in emergency departments at Essentia Health, a large, primarily rural health care delivery system with 12 emergency departments. Methods: The Iowa Model of Evidence-Based Practice to Promote Quality Care was used to guide the process. The Memorial Emergency Department Fall-Risk Assessment Tool (MEDFRAT) was programmed into the electronic medical record, along with interventions that could be selected for 2 fall-risk levels. An education session was developed for emergency nurses about falls and MEDFRAT, with planned time for discussion about any concerns in the implementation of MEDFRAT. MEDFRAT was selected for implementation by nursing leadership because it is evidence based and appeared to be conducive to implementation in the diverse emergency departments across 12 sites in 3 states. Results: Education sessions were presented to nurses at 11 of 12 emergency departments. Suggestions to support site-specific implementation were programmed into the electronic health record. Nurses expressed appreciation that they were consulted, and their feedback was incorporated into the tool before it was implemented. Resources needed at each site to implement recommended MEDFRAT interventions in the tool were identified. Needed resources were then provided to the emergency departments before implementation of MEDFRAT. Conclusions: The Iowa Model was a useful framework to select an evidence-based tool and then engage nurses in the process of implementing evidence-based practice changes in emergency departments across a diverse health care system serving a largely rural population. Ongoing follow-up will determine if this process results in fewer falls. Image 1: Contribution to Emergency Nursing Practice • The approach used in this project could be used, not only for prevention of falls, but also for the selection and implementation of other evidence-based nursing interventions to improve outcomes for ED patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-284
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The project was funded in part by a grant from Essentia Health St. Mary’s Medical Center Foundation.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Emergency Nurses Association


  • Accident prevention
  • Accidental falls
  • Emergency hospital service
  • Risk assessment


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