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West Coast focuses on falls prevention

Media release
Thursday 10 November 2016

West Coast focuses on falls prevention

The number of falls experienced by patients of the West Coast health system shows there is more preventative work to be done in this area, West Coast DHB Chief Executive David Meates says.

A Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC) New Zealand report ‘Making Our Hospitals Safer’ released today shows eight incidents in the year to the end of June 2016, five of which were falls-related. Two other events were due to errors around clinical process, and the remaining event was a surgical injury that occurred during a procedure.

“We can see that even though we have several initiatives around preventing falls, we have some work to do. Falls can be very serious for those whose health is fragile. Over the past few months we’ve introduced a new Falls Prevention Service, more training and education, more published information for patients and their families and clinicians. We absolutely need to continue to focus our efforts on reducing patient falls both in health facilities and in the community,” Mr Meates says.

He says it was important staff continued to report any event where patient safety and health was compromised.

“Preventing adverse events relies on our continued efforts to review and learn from mistakes when they happen. It’s important staff feel supported to speak up for us to improve what we’re doing, or learn from what went wrong.

“Ensuring we remain transparent and have an open reporting culture is key to us being able to make the necessary changes to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen again.”

Mr Meates says when harm does occur, it’s never easy for those involved.

“Our staff come to work every day with the aim of improving people’s health. If a patient’s condition deteriorates unexpectedly and suddenly, it can have a devastating effect,” he says. “We have an obligation to our patients, their family and whanau to be open and transparent and be honest about the care we’ve provided – even if it hasn’t gone to plan.”

The HQSC report can be accessed via the Health Quality and Safety Commission website, The report on the West Coast DHB’s serious adverse events can be viewed here on the DHB



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