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Posted 27 Oct 2015 in Falls

The fifth Open for better care campaign topic, Stand up to falls, has now finished. It had a strong focus on the benefits of an integrated approach to falls prevention and encouraging providers to work together with their primary and community care partners.

The falls focus began with April Falls promotions around the country. We highlighted falls data from each district health board (DHB), sourced from the Atlas of Healthcare Variation falls domain. The resource From Atlas to Action helped the sector understand the implications of falls data from different regions, and how falls might be reduced.

In May, we encouraged DHBs and others to do a falls audit to see what activities, services and actions they had in place to prevent falls.

July saw the release of the Stay independent falls prevention toolkit for clinicians. This resource for primary care included a booklet and poster for waiting room display. There was also a consumer brochure, encouraging older people to self-assess their falls risk and follow that with a conversation with their health professional.

In August and September, we hosted Professor Lindy Clemson, a specialist in public health research on ageing and occupational therapist. She presented a series of workshops for physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses and health care assistants.

FallsStop seminars were also held in October, with Dr Anne-Marie Hill speaking on reducing falls in the hospital setting, designed for hospital falls champions, nursing management, and physiotherapy, gerontology and aged care representatives. Dr Hill covered topics including:

  • evidence-based positive outcomes
  • patient engagement
  • individualised approaches
  • an overview of falls prevention work in Western Australia.

Seminars in Waitemata, Wellington, Hawke’s Bay and Canterbury attracted large audiences. A recording of the seminar will be available on the Open website soon.

Nelson couple Archie (92) and Joyce (86) were our campaign stars in October with their message ‘Be bold, not old’. The pair has been going to exercise classes for five years following a recommendation by their doctor and hasn’t had a single fall in that time. Read their story here.

We also ran lots of competitions! The April Falls quiz was followed by the ‘falls wall’, where staff created a display in hospitals showcasing falls prevention messages. We received heaps of photos, and Wairarapa DHB won a box of chocolate fish for their efforts. In September, there was a great interest in the ‘falls limerick’ competition. You can read the winning entry here.

June’s Out damned clutter! competition was aimed at residential care facilities. Staff sent in ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of rooms. The ‘befores’ showcased potential falls hazards, such as loose cables, rugs and poor lighting. The ‘afters’ showed perfect examples of a safe environment. You can view the winners here.

Also in June, there was the home safety checklist competition. People in the community were asked to use ACC’s checklist to identify potential falls hazards in their homes. We received hundreds of entries. Ten people were randomly selected as winners of a Pharmacy Guild voucher – it seems the luck was with Invercargill, where three of the winners lived.

The falls campaign was rounded off with a competition for aged residential care, with a focus on those living more independently in retirement villages. Residents were encouraged to create a video promoting falls messages, set to the song ‘She’s a Mod’ by Ray Columbus and the Invaders. Ocean Shores in Mt Maunganui was the winner, and will receive a performance by the world’s oldest dance group the Hip-Operation Crew in November. Their winning video and Hip-Operation’s performance will be on the Open website in the near future. A second entrant, Settlers Albany, will also receive a performance by Hip-Operation in recognition of their effort.

Thank you to everyone who supported Stand up to falls and the Open campaign. Watch out for more information about our sixth and final campaign topic – clinical leadership for quality and safety.