NSW Falls Prevention Program

Aim

To reduce the incidence and severity of falls among older people. To reduce the social, psychological and economic impact of falls among older people on individuals, families and the community.

Benefits

The goal is to prevent falls and harm form falls for older people living in the community, NSW Health residential aged care services and when admitted to hospital.

Summary

The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), in collaboration with the NSW Ministry of Health, seeks to promote a comprehensive, systemic approach to falls prevention within NSW. This is outlined in the NSW Health policy directive:  PD2011_029 Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People: 2011-2015

Falls are a significant cause of potentially avoidable harm to older people and place a great burden on the health care system.

In NSW in 2011-2012, there were 35,547 fall-related over night hospitalisations in people aged 65 years or over and their hospitalisation rate was 3,123.0 per 100,000 persons (2,652.2 and 3,471.1 per 100,000 in males and females respectively).

Projections indicate that unless preventative measures are taken thedemand on health care services from fall-related presentations willdramatically escalate, due to the rapidly ageing NSW population.

With respect to NSW Health clinical services and NSW Health residential aged care services, the Policy focuses on activities to support these services implement the Australian Commission for Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) national best practice guidelines for preventing falls and harm from falls in older people, and implementation of National Safety and Quality Service Standard 10: Preventing falls and harm form falls. There are two related but distinct issues to be addressed in hospital settings - firstly, reducing falls that occur during hospital stays (often related to transient states such as acute illness), and secondly,reducing falls in the community by identifying older people at high risk off alls and providing assessment and intervention to manage their falls risk factors. 

With respect to health promotion, the Policy focuses on initiatives to promote uptake of exercise for falls prevention, provision of information to older people on reducing falls risk, and healthy ageing.

The Policy also includes actions with relevance across settings. These focus on responding to specific information and service needs of special groups within the population, working with external partners to identify opportunities to promote best practice in falls prevention within external organisations, and supporting falls prevention research and evaluation activities.

The NSW whole of government Ageing Strategy released in 2012 recognises as a priority action the need to maintain and improve efforts to reduce avoidable falls by older people in all settings. This includes promoting physical activity in recognition that regular exercise is one strategy for lowering the risk of falls.

Background

The NSW Falls Prevention Program has been introduced across NSW LHDs.

The CEC works with LHD Falls Prevention Coordinators to co-ordinate the implementation of the Policy, with the assistance of a District Falls Management Committee and working groups. Each LHD has developed a falls policy implementation plan.

CEC works with the NSW Falls Prevention Network to disseminate information on research and best practice in falls prevention to health and aged care professionals and to support networking and partnerships.

Partnerships

  • NSW Ministry of Health
  • LHD Falls Co-ordinators
  • NSW Falls Prevention Network
  • ACI
  • Ambulance Service NSW
  • HETI
  • Medicare Locals
  • Neuroscience Research Australia: Falls and Balance research unit
  • NHMRC Research projects and Partnership Research Grants
  • Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care – National Fall and Injury Reference Group

 

Key Dates

Pilot Sites

Implementation Sites

Evaluation

Related Initiatives

Further Details

Contact

Lorraine Lovitt
Leader NSW Falls Prevention Program
lorraine.lovitt@health.nsw.gov.au
6656 5326

Dr Peter Kennedy
Deputy CEO, CEC
peter.kennedy@health.nsw.gov.au
9269 5506

Page Top | Added: 6 November 2013 | Last modified: 20 January 2014

CEC
Status:
Contact:
Lorraine Lovitt
Leader NSW Falls Prevention Program
Email
6656 5326
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