The risk of falling increases with age in particular for people over the age of 65 years. Falls related injuries can include minor skin abrasions, joint dislocation, fractures and head injuries. These injuries may result in hospitalisation or an increase in length of hospital stay. The risk of falling can greatly increase when admitted to hospital due to a range of factors including illness and unsteadiness, adapting to a new environment, the introduction of new medication s and walking in unsafe footwear or slippers.
Reducing the risk of patient harm resulting from falls is one of the patient safety goals of the Australian Commission on Safety & Quality in Healthcare (ACSQHC). West Leederville Private Hospital has a falls prevention program that provides guidelines for everyone involved in the care of patients who are identified as being at risk. The hospital uses specific criteria and tools to risk assess patients and put in place a number of strategies to minimise falls whilst in hospital.
What is West Leederville Private Hospital doing to further reduce falls?
Assessment of all patients at risk from falls
Implementation of precautions to reduced the risk of falling – for example use of lifting equipment and walking aids
Education and training of staff in falls prevention, reduction and management
Reporting, investigating and monitoring falls incidents
Quality improvement activities to prevent falls and minimise harm
Spot inspections of the hospital environment to reduce the risk of falls
Further reading: Nine steps to Stay on Your Feet – WA Health http://www.health.wa.gov.au/stayonyourfeet/steps/