From bedside care to community outreach: How WSLHD is addressing the serious issue of falls

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Western Sydney Local Health District (WSLHD) recently hosted its inaugural Falls Forum 2024, a collaborative event focusing on the pressing issue of fall prevention within healthcare facilities.

The forum saw experts, clinicians and stakeholders brought together to share insights, educate staff and spark meaningful conversations about enhancing patient safety.

Katherine Cuanan, Acting WSLHD Falls Prevention Clinical Nurse Consultant, set the tone for the day, emphasising the importance of collaboration and collective responsibility in preventing falls.

“We’re very lucky to have a range of wonderful speakers present today and share their knowledge and expertise in all these falls prevention and management,” she said.

I hope that you come out of today’s forum feeling inspired.

Katherine Cuanan, Acting WSLHD Falls Prevention Clinical Nurse Consultant

Maria Lingam, WSLHD Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery, echoed this sentiment, emphasising the need for lateral thinking and individualised care.

“We need to focus on the individual and their circumstances,” Maria said. “What can we do differently? How can we change?”

Maria also spoke of the district’s commitment to reevaluating practices and prioritising patient-centric solutions.

The forum featured a diverse lineup of sessions, covering topics ranging from comprehensive care to safer mobility behaviours, and medications’ role in falls risk.

Notable speakers included Richard Lindley, WSLHD Professor of Geriatric Medicine, and Dr Lina Lee, WSLHD Staff Specialist Geriatric Medicine, Rehabilitation & Aged Care Services, who shared insights on geriatric medicine and presented a compelling case study.

Professor Lindley urged attendees to reevaluate traditional practices and embrace innovative approaches.

“We need to disinvest from routine practice that has not been shown to be effective and reinvest in what works,” he said.

Let’s start the conversation.

Richard Lindley, WSLHD Professor of Geriatric Medicine

Dr Lee and Professor Lindley spoke to the success of the FLASH program (Falls Admission Safety Huddle) implemented at Blacktown Hospital, which focuses on pre-fall education for patients who have a higher risk of falling based on a FLASH scoring system, and their families.

Throughout the day, participants engaged in discussions, learned about best practices, and explored strategies to minimise falls’ impact.

From bedside care to community outreach, the forum highlighted the multifaceted nature of fall prevention and the importance of a holistic approach.

Dr Lee advised that based on her findings, pre-fall huddles, multidisciplinary involvement, face-to-face education to patients and family, and a sustained workforce all play an essential role in preventing falls.

Attendees also had the opportunity to access valuable materials on fall prevention and learn about support networks available within the district through an information stall run by Westmead Hospital library staff.

You can find more information and in-language resources on how to prevent falls and enhance patient safety here.