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Equipment, training reduce hospital falls by a quarter

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FALL prevention equipment and training implemented by Health & Social Care saw instances of falls in hospital reduce by 24% in 2017.

Deputy chief nurse Elaine Burgess demonstrates one of the 10 anti-fall beds at the Princess Elizabeth Hospital which lower to the floor. (Picture by Adrian Miller, 20954954)

A multi-disciplinary working group was set up in 2016 when it was found that falls made up more than half of the serious incidents reported and investigated that year. This included two falls which resulted in the death of patients.

‘We will probably be the first geographical area to have a tool to assess falling,’ said deputy chief nurse Elaine Burgess.

The working group decided to adopt the FallSafe care bundle, developed by the Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Nursing, which must be completed within six hours of admission for all patients.

‘It is a multi-faceted falls risk assessment of the patient, for example whether or not they wear glasses, have dementia or delirium,’ she said.

The new equipment includes 10 anti-fall beds, which lower to the floor, and sensor pads that alert staff when a high-risk patient has attempted to get out of bed.

‘A lot of hazards are in the bathroom so we have put “call don’t fall” posters on the door. Many people say they would rather not bother us but that shouldn’t be the case.

‘We also now do lying and standing blood pressure measurements. We also did a review and found that there was a lot of medication patients were taking related to falls.

‘This is all reassessed regularly. The most important thing when you make a change is to assess how it is working,’ she said.

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‘A fall can ultimately cost £3,000-£10,000 in surgery, inplants and medication, also the longer the patient is in hospital, the higher the risk of falls.

'Every fall avoided will save us a tremendous amount of money. We hope to purchase more equipment on a rolling basis,’ said Ms Burgess.

HSC also considered care in the community a large factor in tackling the issue. line with the Partnership of Purpose (formerly Target Operating Model) outlined by the committee.

‘You can’t do this on its own, a lot of it is community work.

'At home visits, little things like providing no-slip socks, an extension lead near the bed.

'They also suggest where best to fit additional shelving and rails,’ she said.

Alex Warlow

By Alex Warlow
News reporter

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