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North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust - 70 years of the NHS

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Falls Prevention role reducing falls

Posted on Tuesday 5th March 2019
Mairi-Clark

Falls at Cumberland Infirmary and the West Cumberland Hospital have reduced by almost 25% compared with previous years following the introduction of a Falls Prevention Practitioner role.

Mairi Clark, Falls Prevention Practitioner, has been in the role for almost 12 months and receives incident forms from the wards informing her of falls and their severity, and supports the investigation of the incident where appropriate. Ward staff also contact her for advice on how to manage falls in their clinical areas.  Mairi engages with multi-disciplinary teams on the wards to learn from the incident and supports the staff to put things in place to prevent further incidents.

Mairi said “I would like to raise awareness of the role, the benefits to both patients and staff and improve safety overall. Patients benefit from a safer environment which enables them to get home as soon as possible”.

Helen McGahon, Head of Physiotherapy said “Mairi has worked closely with Willow A staff in CIC, and with their hard work and determination using improvement methodologies, falls have reduced significantly in that area.  With this, the ward was able to receive much needed charitable funds to purchase equipment which had helped reduce the falls during a trial basis.  Mairi advises on having the right equipment and medication reviews for the patients, provides training for ward staff, ensuring they understand the falls documentation, the assessment and being vigilant with patients but not restricting their movements on the ward.

“She has also adapted the Royal College of Podiatrists (RCP) visual assessment to make it shorter and simpler for staff to follow.  The RCP were sent Mairi’s version by our ortho-geriatrician Eva Blythe and were impressed by it; so much so, they are working on using her version nationally. The support and expert knowledge Mairi provides in falls prevention is very important and she is keen for staff to contact her  to be able to provide this”.

With a Podiatry background, Mairi is ensuring staff are aware of the importance of good foot health in preventing falls, and who to contact if concerns arise.

The RCP are featuring Mairi’s profile in their networks and reviewing their policy on Falls Prevention with her input. She is also the only Podiatrist who is a member of the NHS Improvement Falls Prevention. Her hope for the future would be to see similar roles on other sites.