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Preventing falls in hospital is the business for everyone involved in health

That is the message the Waikato DHB promotes – a multi-disciplinary approach to reducing patient harm through falling.

Chief operating officer Jan Adams says falls are an ongoing and serious cause of patient harm.

“We take patient safety very seriously and are doing all we can to prevent harm from falls,” she says.

“Nobody wants a patient to have a fall while receiving health care.”

Waikato DHB falls prevention programme has been in place for the last three years with the aim of reducing the number of falls resulting in harm for patients.

The DHB is also actively involved with the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s Open for better care campaign which launched in May with the first campaign focus being reducing harm from falls.

Achievements to date:

  • Patient injury rate continues to decrease
  • Fall rate within the DHB continues to reduce
  • Increase in reporting of patient falls
  • The number of falls resulting in a severity score of 1 has decreased
  • More than 2000 staff have now accessed and completed the Upright online falls education
  • A comprehensive toolkit of fall prevention strategies on the intranet

Activities include:

  • ‘No falls month’ in April including competitions involving both staff and patients and their families
  • Implementing Ask, Assess, Act initiative into outpatient clinics, aimed at reducing patient falls within the community and at home
  • Trialling of Ministry of Health’s /ACC fall prevention patient’s information compendium (The compendium included information on fall prevention, Vitamin D and home safety checklists).
  • Identifying fall champions at site and ward level and ensuring staff education is updated
  • Streaming Ministry of Health’s fall prevention videos across in-house television systems

Other initiatives involve:

A Paediatric fall risk assessment, (Humpty Dumpty): The DHB will be the first and only DHB in NZ to implement this type of specialised risk assessment. Humpty Dumpty graphics are placed on cots, beds and around the wards for kids and families to see. The graphics personalise the programme and spread the fall prevention message in a child-friendly way.

Pharmacy initiatives: continue to promote the need for medication reviews on admission, highlighting medications associated with high falls risk and the prescription of Vitamin D where appropriate.

Mrs Adams says many falls are preventable and it’s up to us all to make sure we work as a team to prevent harm from falls.

“Our staff are working hard to make sure every patient is assessed for their risk of a fall,” she says.

“Care plans are developed with patients and family to help keep them safe on their feet, and we make sure the environment is safe.”


General media enquiries
Mobile: 021 671 239
Email: news@waikatodhb.health.nz

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