GP Zone

Falls prevention

Falling is a serious and frequent occurrence in people aged 65 and over and those with long term or neurological conditions. 

Hip fractures are the most frequent fragility fracture caused by falls and the commonest cause of ‘accident’ related death, but are often not managed well. 

Falls present a significant cost to the individual; the consequences can range from distress and loss of confidence, loss of independence and quality of life, and occasionally, death. There are also considerable financial costs associated with falls in terms of local health and care services. 

Good clinical practice can reduce death and disability resulting from hip fractures and prevent future falls and fragility fractures, but despite evidence-based guidance on preventing and treating falls in older people there is an inconsistent approach to recognition, diagnosis and management of those at risk across the county. 

Exercise is the only intervention that by itself reduces falls among older adults. However, multi-factorial interventions e.g. a combined programme of exercise, vision assessment, and fall prevention education, can also increase older people’s ability to continue to live safely and independently. Simple early interventions can provide effective results. 

Falls prevention information and resources

Increasing activity in care homes: toolkits and resources

This resource offers support for everyone in a care home to get involved and become physically active in different ways and not just through formal exercise sessions. This will help national and local organisations to promote physical activity in care homes. It is designed to stimulate simple solutions and practical approaches to enable all residents to choose to be active every day. The resource contains booklets, DVDs, pocket guides, self-assessments and toolkits. 

Falls prevention resource sheet 

Resource sheet for falls prevention, not just ‘how to implement’ but ‘what to implement’ is critical. Most falls in hospitals and care homes are caused by complex interactions of risk factors in individual patients. 

NICE clinical knowledge summaries

This link contains recommendations, tools, guidance and tips for identifying, assessing and managing people who may be at risk of falling. These recommendations are based largely on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guideline: Falls. Assessment and prevention of falls in older people [National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, 2013]. 

Preventing falls in hospital

This interactive E-learning resource to reduce inpatient falls course has been revised in 2015 by the Royal College of Physicians, and the NHS England Patient Safety Lead, older people and falls.

New for 2015 is an interactive tool to identify environmental risk factors, which covers patient risk factors (cardiovascular, balance, confusion, bone health, medication, vision and toileting); environmental risk factors (patient environment, special equipment and special observation) and what to do after a fall. It concludes with a case-study based exam, which requires a score of 75 per cent to pass.

With the support of resources, glossary, nurse viewpoints and clinical videos, this interactive course, will allow people to: 

 

  • Explore why falls are not inevitable
  • Understand the impact of falls on your patients
  • Recognise the importance of balancing patient safety, independence, rehabilitation and dignity, including patient choice
  • Learn how to identify and act on patient risk factors to reduce the likelihood of falls
  • Identify environmental risk factors and create a safer environment
  • Explore clinical tasks related to falls prevention 

It has been developed primarily for registered nurses working in acute or community hospitals, but any staff member with an interest in falls prevention can use it.

Research

Multiple component interventions for preventing falls and fall-related injuries among older people: systematic review and meta-analysis. Find out more.

Slips and trips in health services

This information sheet includes e-learning packages and assessment tools and outlines the practical measures you can take in different situations; some measures will reduce the risk to both workers and non-employees, whereas others may be more targeted.

Specific guidance is also available on reducing the risks of slips, trips and falls in health and social care. 

South West Ambulance Service advice

Falls cause serious pain and anguish and in most cases they are preventable. However, you and your team can do some simple things that will make a massive difference to the lives of the people you care for.

This link will take you to a series of videos to a self-assessment form to use to ensure you are best placed to prevent falls. Areas covered include: safe environments, identifying people most at risk, the power of exercise, how to assess someone who has fallen, how to help someone who has fallen