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QUALITY AND SAFETY: A Renewed Committment

On Solid Ground (2/3)  
Eastern Health’s Fall Prevention and Intervention Program 
Published on Connect Magazine, Fall 2012

“The safety of our residents has always been a key consideration in the care we provide, but safety has now been identified as a strategic priority of Eastern Health,” says Alice Kennedy, Vice President with responsibility for long-term care.
“With this initiative, we are meeting a required organizational practice for Accreditation. Most importantly, falls prevention demonstrates the commitment of our staff to keep the men and women in long-term care as safe as possible – from their own vulnerabilities and from other factors that contribute to falling.”

Taking Action

In 2009, Eastern Health’s long-term care staff got tough on tumbles, initiating the Falls Prevention and Intervention Program for long-term care. Interdisciplinary teams were established at each site, led by site ‘champions’ of the program.

Responsibilities of each site include:

  • conducting an environmental scan of the site to ensure safety (proper lighting, dry floors, lack of clutter) and properly-working equipment;
  • staff education on falls, falls prevention and risk assessment (using a validated risk assessment tool called the MORSE falls assessment tool to identify residents at risk for falls, interventions to reduce the risk of falls and level of injury);
  • proper care of the resident after falls; and 
  • evaluation of the program.
“We set a goal of 50 per cent implementation of the new program by March 31, 2012 – and I’m delighted to say that by that time, we had reached an implementation rate of 88 per cent in our long-term care facilities,” notes Megan Cooper, a Clinical Nurse Specialist with Eastern Health and the program lead.
Megan has high hopes for the program.

“That puts us very well on track to achieve 100 per cent implementation at Eastern Health by March 2013,” she says. “Those statistics translate into a safer
environment for our residents, as we all become better informed on prevention, thus reducing either the number or the severity of falls.”
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Updated Sep 25, 2012