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​Meet the SCH Fall Champions

Scratches. Bruises. Fractures. These are some possible consequences when elderly patients fall. While patient safety is a common responsibility, some shoulder the duty of fall prevention more than others. They are our fall champions – a group of more than 40 nurses and ancillary staff across the SKCH and OCH wards.

“Being a fall champion is meaningful and exciting! We all know how falls can result in serious injuries and surely do not want that to happen to our patients. Since becoming a fall champion last September, I am fascinated and keen to explore the many ways we can keep patients safe in our hospital,” said SKCH Staff Nurse Azuela Rhea Joy Bugante.

Fall champions like SN Rhea work actively towards zero falls, springing into action from the moment of patient admission. New patients get an orientation of the ward environment as well as a brochure on fall prevention tips. A fall risk assessment – assigning a low, moderate or high fall risk to patients – would then be conducted so that appropriate measures can be taken accordingly.

“For patients with high fall risk, we stress the use of call bells and remind them to wait for nurses to attend to them. We also pay extra attention to this group of patients by ensuring that there is always one staff looking out for them,” said SN Rhea.

Apart from having sharp eyes and being vigilant, it takes “a lot of patience and understanding” to be a fall champion; especially when managing patients who are cognitively impaired. This observation came from OCH Senior Staff Nurse Fernandez Sheila Mae Deldo, who spoke from years of experience working in a high fall risk ward at BVH, where she was based at previously

Affectionately nicknamed the “Fall Police”, the fall champions make monthly rounds to audit 10 random patients per ward to check if fall prevention measures are in place. The group also ropes in other nurses when conducting bedside education sessions for patients. Besides emphasising the importance of fall prevention, such sessions allow staff to communicate with patients and hear their needs or challenges.

Back in their respective wards, the fall champions partner Nurse Clinicians to analyse patient falls and draw learning points to improve the fall prevention knowledge for all nurses. The group also meets monthly to exchange feedback on ground issues and brainstorm for solutions.

For example, during one of these discussions, the group realised that a contributing factor of falls was poor patient support during transfers. The fall champions then engaged the Rehab team to conduct training on proper lifting techniques for ward colleagues.

As and when needed, the fall champions also connect with each other via TigerConnect to share ground issues and feedback.

Teamwork is key in keeping our patients safe, stressed both SSN Sheila and SN Rhea. “Fall champion or not, everyone can play a part towards patient safety by highlighting the importance of fall prevention and looking out for our patients,” said SSN Sheila.