23 Nov 2012 | Reducing Harm from Falls
This week, the Commission launched its website pages for its national programme to reduce harm from falls in care settings. The pages outline progress to date, membership of the Expert Advisory Group (EAG), and release key documents that will inform the finalisation of the national programme plan and priorities for action.
Of particular interest is the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research (NZIER) report which provides figures on the cost burden of falls. Based on figures for accepted ACC claims in 2010/2011, in relation to District Health Board inpatient falls, the magnitude of falls with harm is five times greater in aged residential care settings, and nearly twenty times greater in the community.
The economic analysis is compelling and must also be balanced by the views of the Expert Advisory Group, who through their clinical involvement and personal experience with family members – are keenly aware that for an older person, the effects of a fall go far beyond the immediate injury, pain and risks associated with treatment. It is often the first step down a path involving loss of confidence, mobility and independence, diminished quality of life, and sometimes leads to an early death. EAG members’ particular expertise in falls prevention and reducing harm from falls means that they are also aware that many falls could be prevented, and that there is good evidence for interventions to reduce the harm sustained when an older person falls.
The national programme is undertaking further work on cost-effectiveness of interventions, and identifying specific activities to support front line staff in keeping the people in our care, particularly those at risk of falling, as safe as possible at all times.