Homes needed for new falls study

Academics conducting a £1.8 million research project are recruiting care homes to test how effective a new falls procedure is.

Academics conducting a £1.8 million research project are recruiting care homes to test how effective a new falls procedure is.

The new checklist and training package to monitor falls procedure
has been trialled in six care homes. Picture: Getty Images

Funded by the National Institute for Health Research, the three-year project involves residential and care homes in the East Midlands, West Yorkshire and East Anglia, trialling a new training package and guidelines designed by the University of Nottingham's Division of Rehabilitation and Ageing.

The Nottingham team has worked with care home management and staff to devise a 33-point action checklist to reduce the risk of residents falling. Points include hydration, trip hazards and wearing the correct spectacles.

Preventive actions

The academics said many homes assess residents using a score out of ten or 20, but don’t always take preventive actions.

The new checklist and training package has already been trialled in a feasibility study involving six homes.

One was dementia-specialist Church Farm Nursing Home in Cotgrave, Nottinghamshire, where senior nurse Wynne Williams was positive about the new package.


She said: ‘If an older person in a care home has a fall, they can be injured and bruise easily, they may not be able to walk as well afterwards and, in some cases, may become scared.

‘And for the care home staff it can also be upsetting – they feel guilty, they ask what they could have done better and whether there was something they could have done to prevent it.

‘But you can’t stop people from walking around or keep people sitting all the time just because there is a risk of a fall, you need to give people their freedom and independence to help preserve their sense of self-worth.'

Recruit 66 homes

Researchers aim to recruit 66 homes. These will be randomly sorted into an intervention group and a non-intervention group, with two weeks training provided to the former and posters displayed to remind assistants to use the guide to action tool.

Falls will be monitored and at the end of each year-long trial, all homes will be offered the training so they can adopt the new guidelines should they so wish.

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