Patient centred program reducing falls

Nurse and physiotherapist holding workbook and portable DVD player
Registered Nurse Shannon Leembruggen and Senior Physiotherapist Christine Lee on the Aged Care Rehabilitation Unit
April 24, 2018

Ensuring patients feel empowered in their care was a key factor in the introduction of the Safe Recovery Inpatient Education Program at Rockingham General Hospital.

Falls are the most common adverse events reported in hospitals, accounting for 20 to 30 per cent of all incident reports, with geriatric and rehabilitation wards having a higher rate of falls.

Led by Physiotherapist Christine Lee in the Aged Care Rehabilitation Unit (ACRU), the safe recovery program takes falls prevention education to the bedside.

Inpatients who are cognitively capable and eligible to be involved in the program are visited by Christine for an education session about falls prevention. The patient views a DVD about preventing falls, receives a workbook and then establishes personal goals to assist with their falls prevention.

“Research suggests fall rates in hospital can significantly decrease by undertaking individualised falls prevention education,” Christine said.

“A lot of patients and their family believe they won’t fall while in hospital, which isn’t the case, so we need to manage each patient’s case individually.”

The three key messages reinforced through the program are for patients to know if they need help to get up and walk around, to ask for help and to wait for help.

“Simple things really make a difference, such as wearing appropriate footwear, keeping their glasses in arms reach and being aware of potential hazards around their bed,” Christine said.

Feedback from patients has been extremely positive, with patients realising they can help themselves to avoid falls while in hospital.

So far, the program has assisted more than 400 patients, with only seven who have received the education subsequently having a fall.