The proposed potential research topic is focused on the exploration of techniques and methods of addressing the rates of falls among the older adult patients in the acute care units. This problem is one of the persisting issues in healthcare, and it also serves as an important quality indicator for the level of care provided to the patients in different institutions. There exists a variety of measures designed to prevent the incidence of falls, each of which has an individual rate of effectiveness. All in all, it is possible to approach the problem of falls among the older adult patients of the acute care units from both qualitative and quantitative points of view.
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The qualitative methods applied to the exploration of issues related to the prevalence of falls among the older adult patients could target the perception of measures taken to eliminate the problem in a specific institution. In particular, the major focus groups of the qualitative method could be the patients and the member of staff employed at the unit.
A specific qualitative method that could be used for this kind of research is a questionnaire with closed-end questions. The questionnaire could be designed based on the existing templates focused on the problem of falls or be specifically constructed for the proposed study. For example, the questionnaire could target the perceptions and patients and staff members separately, inquiring about the most common causes of falls they have witnessed and the measures in place helping to prevent the problem.
The primary benefits of a questionnaire include its ability to collect large amounts of data quickly, allow a structured interpretation, and a precise focus due to the directions provided by the closed-end questions (“The advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires,” n.d.). In addition, a questionnaire is anonymous and can be administered both by the researchers or other individuals without exposing the collected data to risks (“The advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires,” n.d.). The disadvantages of questionnaires include the lack of validity, the high probability of the respondents providing dishonest answers, no personal contact with the respondents allowing to interpret their non-verbal communication, and a potentially flawed design, omitting certain important aspects of the matter under research (“The advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires,” n.d.).
The issue of falls among the older adult patients in the acute care setting could also be approached with the help of the mixed-method approach that combines both qualitative and quantitative methods. In addition to the qualitative questions proposed in the previous section, it is possible to add some quantitative ones targeting the statistical data concerning the prevalence of falls registered in the acute care unit before and after the proposed intervention. In that way, the two approaches would complement one another elaborating on the information collected. In other words, the advantage of the application of the mixed-method approach provides the researchers with the ability to triangulate and view the issue under exploration from a variety of angles, acquiring the information about it from several different sources (Leavy, Byberg, Michaëlsson, Melhus, & Åberg, 2015). The mixed-method type of study design can turn out to be highly beneficial for the generation of the new ideas and perspectives on the researched problems (Meyer, Hill, Dow, Synnot, Hill, 2015). At the same time, this approach has several limitations such as the quantification of the qualitative data that makes it more difficult to interpret, the consumption of time, and the inability of the two methods to work in combination with each other.
Leavy, B., Byberg, L., Michaëlsson, K., Melhus, H., & Åberg, A. (2015). The fall descriptions and health characteristics of older adults with hip fracture: a mixed methods study. BMC Geriatrics, 15(1).
Meyer, C., Hill, S., Dow, B., Synnot, A., & Hill, K. (2013). Translating falls prevention knowledge to community-dwelling older PLWD: A mixed-method systematic review. The Gerontologist, 55(4), 560-574.
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The advantages and disadvantages of questionnaires. (n.d.). Web.