Falls prevention

A core function of the Public Health Agency (PHA) is to provide leadership and support to Health and Social Care (HSC) providers in improving the quality of services delivered to service users. 

Patient falls have both human and financial costs. For individual patients, the consequences range from distress and loss of confidence, to injuries that can cause pain and suffering, loss of independence and occasionally death. Patients’ relatives and hospital staff can feel anxious and guilty when someone falls in hospital. The costs to NHS organisations include additional treatment, increased lengths of stay, complaints and, in some cases, litigation.

Falls are a major cause of disability and mortality. In addition, falls frequently bring about a fear of falling which increases risk and reduces independence.

There is evidence that falls are a significant cause of harm to patients in receipt of HSC in Northern Ireland. Falls are among the top five most frequent adverse incidents reported within HSC Trusts.

All falls cannot be prevented without unacceptable restrictions to patients’ independence, dignity and privacy. Research has shown that falls can be reduced by 20-30% through multifactorial assessments and interventions.

The Regional In-Patient Falls Group has been established to provide multidisciplinary advice and support across the HSC in preventing harm to patients who fall whilst in hospital.

This group has agreed to adopt the ‘Fallsafe’ care bundle, developed by The Royal College of Physicians to support this work. A pilot project has commenced to test the implementation of the ‘Fallsafe’ bundle in clinical areas in all HSC Trusts and establish a plan to spread improvement to all areas thereafter.

Resources

FallSafe falls prevention resources are available here

e-Learning for Healthcare

Click here for the falls e learning website Link

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