Community falls risk screening - Stay On Your Feet
Risk factors can also be screened at an organisational and community level.
Organisational risk factor screening
Organisations who work with older people can contribute to falls prevention by addressing particular falls risk factors related to their core business and through promoting healthy active ageing. All businesses, regardless of their structure or size, must have a current workplace health and safety risk assessment that meets legal obligations. Under the Managing the Risk of Falls at Workplaces Code of Practice 2011, workplaces must properly manage exposure to risks of falls by looking for hazards, determining who might be harmed and how, deciding on control measures, putting controls in place and reviewing the controls. As such, organisations working with older people need to consider their current actions to prevent falls and any further actions within their sphere of influence. Organisations need to consider the falls risk to both their staff and clients.
For more information, refer to the Queensland Government guide: Slips, trips and fall prevention
For health organisations wishing to screen clients for falls risk, refer to Individual risk factor screening
Community risk factor screening
Ideally, the best way to prevent falls would be to protect the whole community from risk factors in the first place 77. To do this, it is necessary to identify why these risk factors occur. These underlying reasons are known as the determinants of health eg. social, environmental and economic factors, and predisposing factors such as attitudes, values, beliefs, knowledge, skills and motivation 116. At a community level, it is important to address the underlying reasons why these risk factors occur in the whole community over the course of a person's life by focusing on:
- mental health and wellbeing by promoting social support networks and environmental supports
- adequate nutrition to develop and maintain bone and muscle strength and reflexes, and provide energy to participate in physical activity
- physical activity to increase bone and muscle strength
- the prompt treatment of health conditions eg. expediting cataract surgery, osteoporosis diagnosis and management
- methods to enhance sleep and relaxation.
When working at the community level, using a falls risk awareness checklist is recommended. A falls risk awareness checklist is a self-administered education tool designed to raise awareness of falls and their risk factors and can also be used to test knowledge about falls 31.
- The short Queensland Stay On Your Feet® Checklist helps to alert older people to their personal risk and/or environmental hazards that they need to address, and makes falls prevention and healthy active ageing more important and relevant to older people. This checklist is ideal for use at awareness raising events such as education sessions, displays and expos.
- The comprehensive How to Stay On Your Feet® Checklist encourages older people to identify their risk factors and hazards in and around their home, then follow simple suggestions to reduce the risk of falls. This checklist can be self-administered or completed with the assistance of a health professional.
Note: These tools do not rate the risk of falls and are not assessed against the same criteria as a more rigorous risk-screening tool.