Falls prevention saves human, economic costs
When Safer Healthcare Now (SHN) was designing its second phase of patient safety interventions, SHN steering committee chair Phil Hassen says the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario (RNAO) was the perfect candidate to lead the intervention on falls prevention.
Launched in 2005, SHN is a national campaign aimed at increasing patient safety in the acute care setting. New interventions were announced June 25 that will bring the campaign into the long-term care sector.
According to Health Canada, 50 per cent of long-term care residents fall each year. Almost half of those residents will fall two or more times. About 10 percent of falls result in serious injury, 5 per cent of which result in bone fractures.
Hassen says the RNAO was best suited to lead the falls prevention intervention because of the best practice guidelines they’ve developed.
Irmajean Bajnok, director of international affairs and best practice guidelines programs with the RNAO, says evidence has shown that if properly implemented, best practice guidelines can help an organization provide better care for patients or residents, as well as reduce some of their own costs.
“When you look at some of the outcomes . . . the evidence is there both in terms of positive outcomes for people as well as economic outcomes. This is something we really need to focus on,” Bajnok says. “There are some clear target areas that are very doable that will have a great impact, both people-wise and cost-wise.”
Bajnok says it’s her role to oversee the intervention for the RNAO and “ensure the approach to knowledge dissemination and uptake, based on best practice guidelines, is in keeping with the methodologies we use and that the guideline is as useful as it can be in regards to building knowledge for those working within the falls intervention.”
In 1999, Bajnok says the RNAO began a multi-year initiative on falls and fall prevention among older adults.
“We’ve taken the best evidence around a particular topic area from the latest research, expert opinion, reports, then had it assessed by a panel of experts (in the field),” Bajnok says. “They convert that information into recommendations that can be used in the practice setting by front-line staff.”
The recommendations are referred to as best practice guidelines.
As the falls intervention lead, the RNAO is going to help health-care professionals with on the ground implementation of the recommendations as well as help the best practice guidelines become part of the organization’s culture.
“That to me is the key to any kind of knowledge uptake strategy, that when the blow wears off . . . what seeds have you sewn to make sure that this is maintained and sustained over time and becomes part of the infrastructure? That’s what we have to do with all of these practices,” Bajnok says.
More details on the intervention will be available in fall 2007. Visit www.saferhealthcarenow.ca or www.rnao.org for more information.