‘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

The steps we are taking to reduce inpatient falls

Prof Finbarr Martin is a Consultant Geriatrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust and Professor of Medical Gerontology at King’s College London. He is a former President of the British Geriatrics Society.

patient-falls-preventionHow good is your department and hospital at preventing your patients falling? About 600 inpatients fall every day. As clinicians, we are fully aware of the injuries that can result from older people falling in hospital and the serious effect a fall can have on their recovery. So what can we do to prevent this happening? NICE guidance suggests we can reduce the number of falls by up to a third. The issue is high on the national patient safety agenda, but we need to be able to gather reliable data to ascertain if greater awareness is leading to the falls rate reducing.

Last year, the London Royal College of Physicians carried out an audit of hospital policies and practice in falls prevention, producing a national picture and a report on each hospital in England and Wales. The audit items were based on guidance from NICE and NPSA. You can access the national report here. Please find the time to take a look at your hospital’s data. Continue reading

Report from the BGS Falls and Postural Stability Meeting 2015

BGS Logo CMYKThis year’s well attended Falls and Postural Stability Conference was held in Wembley, London. BGS member Mary Ni Lochlainn reports back.

The first session at this year’s BGS Falls and Postural Stability Conference was opened by Professor Alice Nieuwbower, from University of Leuven, Belgium, who discussed falls in the context of Parkinson’s Disease (PD).

Patients with PD are twice as likely to fall, compared to healthy older adults. It seems wobbling is a major factor here with ‘sway’ more predictive of falls than ‘gait speed’ in this population. Sway-metrics (probably not as much fun as they sound) show increased sway in patients taking levodopa, leading to a therapeutic challenge for clinicians.

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