News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search

 

Let it be just leaves that fall in Canterbury this autumn


April 7, 2017

Let it be just leaves that fall in Canterbury this autumn


The Canterbury Health System has made great progress in reducing the harm caused by falls but it’s still a major cause of harm, both in hospitals and in the community. So what are we doing about it?

Along with other District Health Boards and with the backing of the Health Quality and Safety Commission, Canterbury DHB is promoting a number of April Falls initiatives.

Susan Wood, Canterbury DHB Director Quality and Safety, says staff have been challenged to come up with clever ways to raise awareness about how to reduce the risk of a vulnerable person having a fall.

“We want staff to come up with clever and creative ways of highlighting falls as an issue, and raising awareness of how to make them less likely to happen. So far we have displays and videos. In the past we have received poems, and even songs,” Susan says.

Canterbury DHB has recreated new graphics to support the falls prevention message, thanks to Waikato DHB, who shared their idea for an autumn leaves theme.

“The key message is that our ultimate aim is that nothing but leaves should fall this autumn,” Susan says.

“We have also put huge effort into communicating what needs to be done to prevent harm to at-risk adults through our Releasing Time to Care bedside ‘Patient Status at a Glance’ Mobility Plans. Handover at the bedside and frequent checks by nurses are a really effective strategy for helping keep patients safe in our hospitals.”

Ken Stewart, clinical lead for Falls Prevention in Canterbury, agrees but also stresses the importance of falls prevention initiatives in the community as part of a whole health system approach.

“We have an internationally acclaimed Community Falls Programme that makes use of referrals mainly from General Practice and the hospital to identify those most at risk in the community and connects them with a Falls Champion,” Ken says.

“Many of those most at risk are frail elderly, and they aren’t just more likely to fall, the consequences can be devastating to their independence – broken hips are all too common and sometimes fatal.”

A Falls Champion visits a person’s home to assess and help minimise home-based hazards: things like trailing cables, checking footwear has grip, securing mats or carpets, moving furniture that might be blocking where people walk most often, and increasing lighting levels.

There are other simple but less obvious actions that can help someone avoid a fall, such as placing the phone where it can be reached easily so older people don’t fall hurrying to answer it, and making sure there is a light by the bed so that a person can go to the toilet safely during the night.

A Falls Champion, often a physiotherapist, will usually recommend an individually-tailored exercise routine to help build strength, balance and confidence. Over the past five years, Falls Champions have helped keep more than 6000 older Cantabrians living independently in their own homes.

“Other health professionals can help too: a pharmacist or GP team can help review medications to make sure they are taken at the right time and don’t cause dizzy spells, and an optometrist can review a person’s glasses prescription to make sure poor vision doesn’t contribute to a fall.”

Since the programme began five years ago and compared with the figures expected for people 75 and older, Canterbury has had:

· 2253 fewer ED attendances

· 590 fewer broken hips

· 37,683 more hospital beds days available for the care of others, due to reducing the number of older people needing hospital care due to a fall.

Since Canterbury DHB’s Older Persons Health moved to Burwood, our data shows there has also been a 22 percent reduction in falls in just the first six months, which equates to 121 fewer falls compared to the same period in previous years.

“All of our work in preventing falls, whether in hospital or at home, is part of our health system’s integrated approach to reducing the risk of harm to some of our community’s most vulnerable people. When combined with other initiatives to prevent avoidable injuries and manage people’s health in the community our overall strategy of helping keep people well and at home is really working,” Ken says.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Obituary: Whānau Announce The Passing Of Bruce Stewart QSM

Matua Bruce was an award-winning builder before he embarked on a journey to build Tapu Te Ranga Marae in 1974... He built Tapu Te Ranga Marae from recycled material with just $25 and a dream. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The America’s Cup

The fact New Zealand now reigns supreme once again in the most sophisticated contest in the world’s most elite sport – yacht racing – can’t help but reflect the trajectory the country has been on since the 1980s... More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis: Christopher Marlowe & 'The Tragedy Of Dr. Faustus'

Previous versions of 'The Devil's Pact' can be traced back to the fourth century, Marlowe deviated significantly by depicting his protagonist as unable to burn his books or repent to a merciful God in order to have his contract annulled... More>>

ALSO:

Gold For RNZ: Muslim Post-9/11 Series, Kim Hill Win In New York

The Radio New Zealand podcast series Public Enemy has won a gold award for excellence for its presenter, Mohamed Hassan, at the prestigious New York Festival Radio Awards announced in Manhattan today. RNZ National’s Saturday Morning host, Kim Hill, also received a gold award for Best Radio Personality. More>>

Human Rights Commission: Give Nothing To Racism

A campaign urging New Zealanders to give nothing to racism and refuse to spread intolerance has been launched by some of the country’s most well-known people. More>>

Louis Vuitton Series Win: Emirates Team NZ Will Challenge For The America’s Cup

By beating Artemis 5-2 they now take on Oracle Team USA in the America’s Cup match starting next weekend. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • CULTURE
  • HEALTH
  • EDUCATION
 
 
  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland