Rationale, aims and objectives: Patient preference for interventions aimed at preventing in-hospital falls has not previously been investigated. This study aims to contrast the amount patients are willing to pay to prevent falls through six intervention approaches.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional willingness-to-pay (WTP), contingent valuation survey conducted among hospital inpatients (n = 125) during their first week on a geriatric rehabilitation unit in Queensland, Australia. Contingent valuation scenarios were constructed for six falls prevention interventions: a falls consultation, an exercise programme, a face-to-face education programme, a booklet and video education programme, hip protectors and a targeted, multifactorial intervention programme. The benefit to participants in terms of reduction in risk of falls was held constant (30% risk reduction) within each scenario.
Results: Participants valued the targeted, multifactorial intervention programme the highest [mean WTP (95% CI): $(AUD)268 ($240, $296)], followed by the falls consultation [$215 ($196, $234)], exercise [$174 ($156, $191)], face-to-face education [$164 ($146, $182)], hip protector [$74 ($62, $87)] and booklet and video education interventions [$68 ($57, $80)]. A 'cost of provision' bias was identified, which adversely affected the valuation of the booklet and video education intervention.
Conclusion: There may be considerable indirect and intangible costs associated with interventions to prevent falls in hospitals that can substantially affect patient preferences. These costs could substantially influence the ability of these interventions to generate a net benefit in a cost-benefit analysis.