Best foot forward to reduce falls

Coloured wristbands and a confusion screening tool are some of the latest techniques being used at Auckland City Hospital to help reduce the number of patients falling in wards.

The ‘Falls Concept Ward’ introduces a range of innovative and tested initiatives developed by Older People’s Health specialists with an aim to reduce falls with harm by 20 per cent.

It is the latest concept by a dedicated team of health, nursing, medical and quality and safety staff who are working together to reduce that figure. 

Charge Nurse, Lorraine Aramoana-Thompson has high hopes that the project will help to improve the situation for one of our more vulnerable patient groups on the Marino Ward.

“All staff and educators involved in the initiative have been great and it’s been really positive to see a cross-team working approach to support improved communication between all health staff.”

One of the new ideas includes patients wearing red, orange or green coloured wristbands to distinguish the mobility assistance they require - Red for hands-on assist, orange for supervision, and green for independent.

Special focus is also being made of bed positions, toileting needs, and pain and medication levels. Other initiatives include sticky socks, improved toilet signage and post-fall review processes.

“The impact of these new initiatives is being tracked over the coming months, including a ward storyboard that captures information for staff to see progress visually at a glance,” added Lorraine.

This week (Nov 39) marks New Zealand’s first Patient Safety Week, co-ordinated by the Health Quality and Safety Commission.

Celebrating the week at Auckland District Health Board, Chief Nursing Officer Margaret Dotchin said: “We’re really pleased to be recognising Patient Safety Week. Initiatives like the falls concept ward are helping to lead the way in our continued efforts to improve the quality and safety of our care provided to patients.” 

Photo Caption: Allied health physiotherapist Susan Harrison fits Marino ward patient Bonnie Hildreth with her mobility assistance wrist band.

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