How to Apply the Morse Fall Scale

The Morse Fall Scale (MFS) is one of the most commonly used measures of fall risk in senior living and healthcare (download a free Morse Fall Scale template here).

Why Use the Morse Fall Scale?

The MFS is popular because:

  • It’s a valid measure of fall risk. Several studies have shown the predictive value of the MFS. In a 2009 study that looked at the three most commonly used fall risk assessments, the MFS came out on top.
  • It’s easy to administer. According to results from MFS creator Janice M. Morse, it takes less than a minute to administer the assessment.
  • It provides actionable results. The results of the assessment tell you whether a resident is in the low-risk, medium-risk, or high-risk category for falls, so you can implement the appropriate falls prevention plan.

Administering the Morse Fall Scale

The MFS consists of six items, all of which are easily scored and interpreted:

  • History of falling
    • Yes = Score 25
    • No = Score 0
  • Secondary diagnosis
    • Yes = Score 15
    • No = Score 0
  • Ambulatory aid
    • Furniture = Score 30
    • Crutches, cane, or walker = Score 15
    • None = Score 0
  • IV or heparin lock
    • Yes = Score 20
    • No = Score 0
  • Gait/transferring
    • Impaired = Score 20
    • Weak = Score 10
    • Normal = Score 0
  • Mental status (Ask: “Are you able to go to the bathroom alone or do you need assistance?”)
    • If answer lines up with objective assessment = Score 15
    • If not = Score 0

Scoring the Morse Fall Assessment

The MFS is incredibly easy to score. Just add up the numbers for all six factors.

  • 0 to 24 = Low risk
  • 25 to 44 = Medium risk
  • 45+ = High risk

Implementing a Fall Prevention Program

All senior living communities and healthcare communities should have a fall prevention program in place. Here are some examples of fall interventions appropriate for residents in the low-, medium-, and high-risk categories:

Low Risk

  • Education
  • Exercise
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Non-slip footwear
  • Lower bed

Medium Risk

  • Physical therapy
  • Non-skid floor mat
  • Medication monitoring and review

High Risk

  • Personalized care plan
  • Color armband
  • Hip protectors

Want more info?

Download Your Free  Morse Fall Scale Template

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