Half of the seniors living in long-term care facilities fall and injure themselves every year

    National Collaborative has success in reducing falls

    EDMONTON, May 26 /CNW/ - Seniors living in long-term care are less likely
to fall thanks to a national project that increased the use of safety plans to
protect residents who are at risk.
    "Preventing falls and reducing serious injury from falls is absolutely
critical," says Irmajean Bajnok, Director of International Affairs and Best
Practice Guidelines Programs at the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario
(RNAO). "People can be seriously injured and even end up with a disability.
Staff in long-term care facilities who have a person-centred, evidence-based
approach to reducing falls and fall injuries can increase quality of life for
their residents and reduce costs associated with serious injury from falls."
    The National Collaborative on Falls in Long-Term Care is a joint project
of RNAO and Safer Healthcare Now, a campaign of the Canadian Patient Safety
Institute (CPSI). Teams made up of nurses, physiotherapists, occupational
therapists, personal support workers, dietitians, and pharmacists used
recommendations from an RNAO best practice guideline to develop falls
prevention plans that were specific to their residents and organizations.
    In addition to improving methods for assessing risk and reporting
incidents, teams participating in the project implemented strategies such as:
teaching staff, residents and families how to prevent falls; having residents
do balance and strength training; lowering the height of beds; and using bed
exit alarms when patients are at a high risk of falling.
    "I would like to commend the healthcare professionals involved in this
project for making it possible for us to introduce and measure a comprehensive
approach to preventing falls on a national level," says Philip Hassen, Chair
of Safer Healthcare Now's Steering Committee and Chief Executive Officer of
the Canadian Patient Safety Institute. "Their commitment to keeping their
residents safe and their innovative approaches to preventing falls have shown
that through hard work and client-centred planning and care, the majority of
falls can be prevented."
    "We didn't advocate restricting movement or using restraints of any
sort," explains Bajnok. "Our focus was on assessing and identifying those at
risk of falling and setting up as many preventative strategies as possible.
That way, older persons have the dignity and freedom to move about, but also
the safety net and support they need."

    About CPSI

    The Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI) is an independent
not-for-profit corporation, operating collaboratively with health
professionals and organizations, regulatory bodies and governments to build
and advance a safer healthcare system for Canadians. CPSI performs a
coordinating and leadership role across health sectors and systems, promotes
leading practices and raises awareness with stakeholders, patients and the
general public about patient safety. www.patientsafetyinstitute.ca

    About RNAO

    The Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) is the professional
association representing registered nurses in Ontario. Since 1925, RNAO has
lobbied for healthy public policy, promoted excellence in nursing practice,
increased nurses' contribution to shaping the health care system, and
influenced decisions that affect nurses and the public they serve. RNAO's
ambitious Best Practice Guidelines Program, funded by the Ontario Ministry of
Health and Long-Term Care, was launched in 1999 to provide the best available
evidence for patient care across a wide spectrum of health care areas.

For further information:

For further information: For media inquiries, please contact: Cecilia
Bloxom, Director of Communications, Canadian Patient Safety Institute, Phone
(780) 700-8642; Jill-Marie Burke, Media Relations Coordinator, Registered
Nurses' Association of Ontario, (416) 408-5606, Cell: (647) 504-4008

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