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Three nation approach to preventing harms in hospital

Falls prevention experts from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand will gather in Brisbane today to share their knowledge, evidence-based practice, learnings and successes.

Deputy Director General of Queensland Health's Clinical Excellence Division Dr John Wakefield said the forum would help staff tackle the ongoing challenge of preventing patient falls in hospital.

'Preventing falls and harm from falls is a key patient safety issue and a core element of hospital accreditation under National Safety and Quality Health Service Standards,' Dr Wakefield said.

'Queensland Health facilities should be commended for having stabilised inpatient fall rates to 3.3 falls per 1,000 episodes of care in the past three financial years.

'This is 1.2 falls per 1,000 episodes of care below the national average and even more remarkable given the increasing burden of Queensland's aging population.'

Dr Wakefield said keeping patients safe in Queensland hospitals was imperative, with falls among older patients often extending lengths of stay by five to six days.

'Falls can have a huge impact on patient independence and mobility, particularly among our older generation when falls can lead to common injuries including broken hips,' he said.

'This opportunity to share learnings and successes among our international colleagues will help ensure Queensland remains at the forefront of falls prevention in Australia.'

Background information

Statistics

  • Falls represent 15.5 per cent of all incidents reported in Queensland Health hospitals
  • Inpatient falls are estimated to cost Queensland $5.4 million in surgery costs, wound care and extended length of hospital stay
  • Each year, the Queensland Ambulance Service attends more than 22,000 Queenslanders over the age of 65 who have fallen.

Falls prevention tips

There are some simple ways to BE SAFE in hospital and stay on your feet by following these tips:

  • Buzzer – use the buzzer to call and don't fall
  • Environment – familiarise yourself with the room, bathroom and lighting
  • Shoes – bring and wear low healed, non-slip shoes that fit well
  • Ask for assistance – especially when getting in and out of bed, putting on footwear, walking and using mobility aids
  • Fluids – drink plenty of fluids (unless your fluid intake is restricted)
  • Educate – learn about balance and strength exercises to keep you on your feet.

To learn more on how to stay on your feet visit Queensland Stay On Your Feet.

Media contact: +61 7 3708 5376

Last updated: 19 October 2017