Falls are one of the largest causes of harm in health care and are a national safety and quality priority. No other single cause of injury, including road trauma, costs the health system more than falls.
More than one in three people aged 65 or over fall at least once a year and many fall more often. Falls are even more common among residents of aged care facilities and fall incidents in hospital are high.
An Australian study found 8% of women aged in their 40s, 14% in their 50s, 25% in their 60s and 40% in their 70s had experienced a fall in the previous 12 months. In older adults, up to 30% of falls can result in moderate to severe injuries, such as lacerations, hip fractures and head trauma, resulting in an increased risk of early death.
Informa’s Annual Falls, Fractures & Pressure Injuries Conference heads to Brisbane this year featuring over 22 expert speakers providing presentations, streams, case studies and research into fall prevention and management.
In the lead in to the event, we had a chat to Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital’s Dr Rebecca Bell, Margaret Cahill and Karen Lee-Steere about their presentations at the conference and how RBWH are addressing fall risk of older and at-risk patients.
Q: What have been some of the highlights of working to reduce falls and pressure injuries with older and at-risk patients? Is there a certain accomplishment you’re particularly proud of?
Rebecca: The RBWH Falls Working Party is particularly excited about of the fact the RBWH has maintained a low injurious falls rate over the last 8 years. This result has been facilitated by a shared approach from Organisational level, local ward level through to individual patient. Opportunities to collaborate with consumers for their input through a variety of programs including the Eat Walk Engage Program has been both informative and rewarding.
Q: What is one strategy that an organisation as a whole can look at to help improve care of older patients at risk for falls, fractures and pressure injuries?
Karen: There is not one strategy that an organisation can do to improve care of older patients at risk. The care of at risk older patients is a complex task which needs to have multiple strategies developed by a multidisciplinary team, in partnership with the patient and their family/carers to cater for their specific needs and goals of care. There is no “recipe” for this. The consumer voice should ideally be the central driver of any care improvement strategy.
Q: Your extended workshop session will address ways to improve care of the older and at-risk patient in the hospital setting – without giving too much away, what are some of the important takeaways attendees can expect from the session?
Margaret: Attendees can expect to see how the organisation has changed to further support the integrated care of older patients and what tools and skills have been embedded in the workforce and how this has been accomplished. The case study presentation will further highlight the patient experience of these strategies.
Q: What are you most looking forward to at the conference? Are there any presentations at the Falls, Fractures and Pressure Injuries Management Conference that you are particularly looking forward to?
Margaret, Karen & Rebecca: We always enjoy learning from other facilities and experts in the field to enhance our evidence based approach to care for our older patients at risk.
Join Margaret and Rebecca at this year’s Falls, Fractures & Pressure Injuries Conference this August in Brisbane, for more details click here.