The April Falls focus for 2015 was on an integrated approach to falls in older people across health and social services. This theme applies in all settings – it is as relevant at a central agency level, as it is across hospital, aged residential care and primary/community care settings. Having ‘older people’ at the heart of everything we do is essential.

Integrated care is seen as critical to supporting older people in living safely and independently at home, helping them avoid admission to hospital and recovering after discharge from hospital. Disconnected and fragmented services impact negatively on patient outcomes and experience of care, but integrated care ensures that services are coordinated around the needs and goals of the older person, their families/whānau and other carers.

Knowing your local and regional falls data is a key component of understanding how well your services are integrated. On 1 April 2015 the Atlas of Healthcare Variation falls domain was released.

The Atlas of Healthcare Variation is designed to identify variation in the delivery of health care services across New Zealand. The goal of the atlas is to stimulate debate on selected topics with a view to understanding whether observed variation is genuine and based on differences between populations, or whether it reflects variable practice. Ultimately, the intention is not to make a judgement but to stimulate debate and conversation. Typically, large variation in practice may indicate areas of clinical uncertainty, variable interpretation of the evidence, or it may highlight issues of access.

This atlas presents data by DHB on falls in people aged 50 and over, and includes data on ACC claims following a fall, hospital admission due to a fall, average bed days and hip fracture indicators.

Falls-related injury prevention, with a focus on older adults, is also a high priority for both ACC and the Ministry of Health. The Commission is working closely with both organisations to support the sector in this important area that requires ongoing commitment and vigilance.

Regional themes

Each of the four regional falls networks was encouraged to promote aligned themes. Regional themes for April Falls in 2014 concentrated on the appropriate use of bedrails, safe footwear, the signalling system to support safe mobilising and safe care environments.

With integrated approaches to preventing falls in older people top of mind, there were a number of themes to consider for April Falls 2015:

  • involving patients and their families/whanau in falls risk assessment and actions to address the risks
  • that every risk factor identified for a patient has an action in the individualised care plan
  • safe mobilising and safe environments - this includes using the signalling system, ensuring appropriate footwear, optimising vision, appropriate use of bedrails and equipment
  • vitamin D prescribing for those likely to be at risk of vitamin D deficiency
  • medicine use review
  • balance and strength community based falls prevention programmes
  • preventing and managing delirium as an important component in inpatient fall prevention.

Health care workers were encouraged to connect with your regional patient safety campaign co-ordinators, and falls network clinical leads to ensure that your activities align and support each other.
Regional Falls Leads are:

  • Northern region and First, Do No Harm – Karen O’Keeffe
  • Midland region – Sonia Gamblen
  • Central region – Chris McKenna
  • South Island Alliance – Ken Stewart

2015 April Falls initiatives

The third annual national April Falls Quiz ran from 1 April to 8 May – click here for further details.

2015 April Falls promotional material

To assist you to promote and raise awareness of April Falls the following promotional materials were available:

Last updated 12/02/2018