April Falls - It's no joke

12 April 2013

Preventing falls in hospital is everyone’s business. That’s the message of this year’s April Falls promotion which is underway at Taranaki DHB.

Dr Greg Simmons, Chief Medical Advisor, 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,” he says. “Nobody wants a patient to have a fall while receiving health care.”

Taranaki DHB will mark April Falls month through a number of initiatives including displays, flyers, patient information pamphlets, and raising staff awareness.   

In New Zealand hospitals, between 2010 and 2012, a total of 200 people fell and broke their hip. “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 patients are assessed for their risk of a fall, care plans are developed with patients and family to help keep them safe on their feet, and to make sure that the environment is safe as well.”

National data collected on patient falls shows that many of these falls occur around meal times and some are related to the type of footwear used. 

A trial at Taranaki Base and Hawera Hospital is underway to issue non-slip socks to patients who have been assessed as benefitting from using this type of sock. 

Older people are most at risk of falling and Dr Simmons encourages people to discuss any concerns with their doctor or nurse, and to ask for help if they feel unsteady on their feet.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need a hand,” he says. “It’s also important to make sure you know where the call-bell is by your bed and that you have everything that is important within reach, such as your glasses or walker.

“Staff will help keep the area around your bed clutter-free and make sure any spills are attended to so you don’t slip over.”

For more information please call
Sue Carrington
Media Adviser
Ph 021 367 789

Last updated: Friday, April 12, 2013

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