The Canterbury District Health Board is teaching people how not to fall in a bid to reduce injury. The board has launched the April Falls campaign to help prevent falls in hospitals and at home. A Health Quality & Safety Commission report in February showed falls accounted for 52 per cent of the board's sentinel events last year.
A sentinel event is life-threatening or has led to an unexpected death or permanent disability. A serious event leads to extra treatment but is not life-threatening. Last year, two people died in Canterbury's public hospitals as a result of falls, including one who fell and died of a head injury three days later. There were 38 serious falls, the highest number in the country, resulting in 24 broken hips.
Ken Stewart, of the clinical board, said every week about 40 people over 75 arrived at Christchurch Hospital as a result of a fall, and more than two-thirds were admitted.
"One of our targets is to achieve a reduction of at least 20 per cent in the number of over-75-year-olds presenting to hospital with a fall-related injury by April 2014," he said.
Blurred vision could lead to more falls, so people should get their eyes checked, it said.