‘Look out’ – assessing a patient’s vision for falls prevention, what should it look like?

Dr Kawa Amin represents the BGS on the advisory group for the National Audit of Inpatient Falls (NAIF). He is a Consultant Geriatrician, Consultant lead for falls service and Geriatrics Departmental Lead for Safety & Quality at Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust.

As part of my role on the NAIF advisory group I have been involved in the development of a new bedside vision assessment tool which enables ward staff to quickly assess a patient’s eyesight in order to help prevent them falling or tripping while in hospital.

Being acutely unwell is and in a different environment, is a stressful experience.  Even with reassuring care from clinical teams treating them, older people often need extra support in a ward environment.  Can you imagine how frightening such an experience might be for a patient with visual impairment?  It’s perhaps no wonder that poor vision is a risk for delirium.   Continue reading

Too many older people falling due to poor eye sight

Kamlesh Chauhan is President of the College of Optometrists 

It may seem obvious to some that there is a strong link between how well you can see and your chances of suffering a fall, especially as you get older. Yet our new research has revealed that it’s not so obvious to almost a third (32%) of people in the UK with parents over the age 65.

Up to one in three people over 65 will experience a fall each year so it is not surprising that nearly half of those who took part in our research said they had an older friend, parent or relative who had fallen. However, it is surprising, and worrying, that fewer than three per cent of people questioned said their parents’ deteriorating eyesight was a cause for concern.

The financial and human repercussions of falls are significant: Age UK estimates that the cost to the NHS of treating older people who have suffered a fall is up to £4.6m a day, and suffering a fall can seriously reduce quality of life as the chances of a full recovery reduce with age. Tragically, in some cases a fall can be fatal.  Continue reading