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Falls prevention is everyone's business

One fall is one too many. And working in a closely knit community hospital like Bright Vision Hospital (BVH) means each staff is responsible in looking out for patients. What happens in another ward isn't just that ward's business.

It's for this reason that BVH started its latest Falls Free initiative. Comprising several staff engagement sessions with intervention and best practice sharing from various departments, the initiative aims at creating a safe environment for patients with high fall risk. This will be done by fostering a culture of shared responsibility, and having a systematic approach to fall prevention.

The Initial stage

Dementia patients are more likely to fall because of their poor safety awareness. "They don't realise their current health condition. So they still think that they are healthy and can walk around," shared Yeung Chee Yan, Nursing Officer at BVH and one of the leads in the Falls Free initiative.

"Lately we noticed an increase number in dementia patients. Most of them are admitted because of hips fracture," continued Chee Yan.

To protect the vulnerable group of patients, a committee was formed with staff from the Nursing, Medical and Rehabilitation Departments. "We shared a lot of interesting ideas during the committee meeting. Having the different departments come together and brainstorm makes a difference," said Chee Yan.


Fostering a safe environment for patients

From those committee discussions were several initiatives. For a start, they conducted three engagement sessions in March for staff to learn more about falls prevention and shared the interventions by different departments.


 Nurse Chee Yan showing explaining to staff on one of the interventions during the engagement session

How BVH reduces falls – initiatives by the different departments

Vulnerable and Impulsive Patient (VIP) tag (Nursing) 
Patients prone to falls are recognised by a green wrist tag. They require supervision by staff and are not safe to move about unassisted.

ABCDE program (Medical) 
ABCDE stands for Attention, Behavior, Confusion, Drugs and Environment. Staff should observe patients for any changes and inform the doctors based on these five elements.

Fabulous Fall Free Friday (F4) (Medical) 
The hospital congratulates staff via the internal PA system on Fridays if there are no falls that entire week.

Coaching session (Rehabilitation Department)
Sessions are conducted every Thursday to teach patients how to protect themselves from falls.

Good Catch Award 
Staff can nominate their colleagues who were more alert of patients who may be at risk of falling.

Maria Elena from nursing department receiving the Good Catch Award from Ms Margaret Lee, CEO of SCH and Associate Professor Lee Kheng Hock, BVH Medical Director

BVH also provides fall prevention brochure to patients and caregivers upon admission for them to understand the risks. There are seven steps to prevent falls indicated in the brochure, one of which is to put on the safety belt once a patient is seated on the chair.

"Patients are also asked to wait for the staff to come when they press the call bell, instead of walking off unaided," explained Chee Yan.

To the committee's credit, the interventions were successful. "It not only created awareness for staff, but also for patients and caregivers."

The message struck home  –  "Falls prevention is everyone's business," said Chee Yan with a smile.