Patient “falls” are the most frequently reported patient safety event in BC PSLS, accounting for nearly 40% of all events reported in our provincial database. Falls can lead to loss of mobility, serious injury or even death, which is why many healthcare facilities across BC are becoming increasingly proactive with their falls prevention and intervention strategies.
At Bradley Centre, a 90-bed residential care facility in Chilliwack, BC, staff is particularly dedicated to preventing injuries due to falls. As Residential Care Coordinator for the past 12 years, Anne Fleming oversees quality of care for Bradley Centre’s residents, ensuring they are comfortable and safe with the least use of physical, environmental or chemical restraints.
When Fraser Health rolled out its “least restraint” policy in 2009, Anne and her colleague Sylvia Robertson, Bradley Centre’s Occupational Therapist, initiated a joint venture on falls and injury prevention, using their PSLS data to learn more about when and why resident falls occur.
“We started to closely examine our PSLS data a few years ago and we discovered that our residents were falling most often between the hours of 6:00 am – 8:00 am,” says Anne. “It was really eye opening. The data clearly showed that our residents were falling more frequently in the morning when they were trying to get out of bed to use the washroom.”
Applying what they found, Anne and her team implemented staff scheduling changes to allow for additional care aides who would start their shift at 6:00 am and assist the night staff with the residents’ morning routines. Furthermore, education about the benefits of hip protectors was a key strategy.
“Our success has a lot to do with the commitment of our staff and our collaboration with families,” she says. “When we explain to families how vulnerable residents are and why hip protectors are important, families are completely on board and willing to do what they can to make sure their loved ones are safe.”
Anne and Sylvia presented their innovative approach at the Regional Falls Intervention Program and were recognized with a first place award for their poster presentation, creative ideas and positive outcomes. While falls still occur at Bradley Centre, as is expected in residential care settings, the efforts of Anne, Sylvia and all the staff have made a significant impact on the frequency of fractures.
Anne continues to coach staff about the importance of regularly reporting safety events in PSLS because she wants them to know that they are making a difference and improving safety. “The real benefit of PSLS is communication,” she says. “It helps me to monitor exactly what’s happening at our facility, spread this learning among the staff and, most importantly, ensure the comfort and safety of our residents.”
For more information, please visit:
- Fraser Health’s Falls and Injury Prevention section on their website
- Accreditation Canada Required Organizational Practice Falls Prevention Strategy
- Canadian Patient Safety Institute Taking Steps for Falls Prevention
- Safer Healthcare Now! Reducing Falls and Injury from Falls
- World Health Organization Falls Prevention in Older Age