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Preventing falls and harm from falls

Lisa Pearson, Vasudha Iyengar, Leigh Rhode, Dale FraserGoulburn Valley Health is committed to preventing falls and harm from falls for patients in our care.

The risk of patients falling in hospital is even greater than falling in the community because of acute illness and changes to the patient’s usual environment and routine. A fall can result in serious and minor injuries. Even when no injury occurs, the consequences of a fall can include fear of falling and reduced activity level, which can in turn affect function and quality of life.

GV Health has implemented a number of changes in routine care to minimise a patient’s risk of falling. It is a requirement that all patients are screened to identify whether they are at risk of falling. If a patient is identified at risk of falling, an assessment and care plan is developed in partnership with the patient and, as required, their family member.

A range of interventions are put into place to prevent falls.

The patient is provided with the publication ‘Don’t Fall for It: Falls can be prevented’ with the intention of providing falls education while they are in hospital and empower them to self-manage falls prevention when they go home.

If the patient has a fall while they are in hospital, they will be screened again and their assessment and care plan will be updated and interventions modified to prevent future falls.

Falls are reported on an incident register and the numbers of falls and the harm as a consequence of falls is monitored by GV Health.

This year, GV Health introduced non-slip red socks to prevent falls and harm from falls. These are provided to patients identified as at risk of falling.

The red socks are non-slip, comfortable to wear and patients feel safe in them. They act as an alert to staff, other patients and visitors. Non-slip red socks have been used at the Waranga campus for some time and have been shown to reduce falls and harm when a fall occurs.

GV Health will continue to look for new ways to manage the risk factors for falls, which will have wider benefits beyond falls prevention.

Preventing falls and harm from falls