Benefits and risks of non-slip socks in hospitals: a rapid review

Jazayeri, Dana, Heng, Hazel, Slade, Susan C., Seymour, Brent, Lui, Rosalie, Volpe, Daniele, Jones, Cathy, and Morris, Meg E. (2021) Benefits and risks of non-slip socks in hospitals: a rapid review. International Journal for Quality in Health Care, 33 (2). mzab057.

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Background: Non-slip socks are sometimes used in an attempt to prevent falls in hospitals despite limited evidence of benefit. We critique the current literature on their risks, benefits and effects.

Methods: A rapid review was conducted following the Cochrane Rapid Review Methods Group Guidelines. To be included, studies needed to have data on single or multifactorial interventions that used non-slip socks in hospitals or their safety, risks or effects in a laboratory setting. Six electronic databases were searched: Medline, Embase, Cinahl, Cochrane, Allied and Medical Health Database (AMED) and Proquest Central.

Results: Fourteen articles met the inclusion criteria. Nine used non-slip socks as an intervention in hospitals. Three assessed their effects in laboratory settings. Two reported risks in relation to bacterial transfer. Most studies that used non-slip socks to prevent hospital falls had negative or equivocal results and were of comparatively low method quality, with a high risk of bias. Two of the laboratory tests reported traction socks to be no safer than walking barefoot and to have similar slip resistance. The laboratory studies had a low risk of bias and showed that bacteria can sometimes be acquired from socks.

Conclusion: Non-slip socks have the potential to carry an infection control risk that requires careful management. There was no strong or conclusive evidence that they prevent hospital falls.

Item ID: 70469
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1464-3677
Keywords: Ageing, Fall prevention physiotherapy, Falls, Grip socks, Hospitals, Non-slip socks, Traction socks
Copyright Information: ©TheAuthor(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of International Society for Quality in Health Care. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:
Funders: National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
Projects and Grants: NHMRC 1152853
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2022 01:29
Downloads: Total: 1
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