Falls are the leading cause of accidental injury in people over the age of 60. Research has clarified falls risk factors. Falls risk in elderly adults should be regularly assessed and a valid tool informed by the risk factors used.
To promote best practice assessment and prevention of falls in older adults living in the community - metropolitan north region of Brisbane, Queensland.
The project used the Joanna Briggs Institute PACES and GRiP audit tool for promoting change in healthcare practice. A baseline audit using 5 audit criteria was conducted followed by implementation of a validated falls risk assessment, education and follow-up audit. Occupational therapists, physiotherapists and registered nurses were all involved in the audits and implementation with 20 clients records audited at each stage.
The baseline audit revealed that a falls risk assessment, not validated for use in the community was being used within the organization. It also revealed staff had not received education in its use. The follow up audit suggested that introduction of a validated tool and education improved compliance with best practice. Due to difficulties educating a part-time workforce, not all staff completing the assessment were educated, and at the end of the project there was still a best practice knowledge gap with only 70% of staff involved in the project having received education.
The project helped to promote best practice falls risk assessment in the setting by introducing a valid risk assessment, providing knowledge in its use and encouraging a more individualized falls risk approach with interventions tailored to the individual based on the results of the more sensitive and specific falls risk assessment chosen. At the end of the project additional work needed to be done to develop an effective multidisciplinary education strategy for staff, and the validated tool needs to be implemented across the organization.