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Tool to assess patient eyesight created to prevent hospital falls

The Royal College of Physicians has released a guide to help staff prevent inpatient falls.

A new guide to help ward staff assess patient eyesight in a bid to reduce hospital falls has been created by frontline staff, medical professionals and patients.

Look Out! Is the new bedside assessment tool

The tool, developed through a collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians and several organisations including the RCN and NHS Improvement, aims to support busy clinical staff to assess visual impairment in older people.

Visual aids

The guide uses a series of questions and visual aids to help staff check eyesight at the patients bedside including visual tests for distance and near vision and information for clinicians about vision conditions common in older people.

Staff can ask questions such as whether a patient can see a television clearly at home and watch their eye movement by moving a pen around.

The RCP said is not intended

A new guide to help ward staff assess patient eyesight in a bid to reduce hospital falls has been created by frontline staff, medical professionals and patients.

Look Out! book title
Look Out! Is the new bedside assessment tool

The tool, developed through a collaboration between the Royal College of Physicians and several organisations including the RCN and NHS Improvement, aims to support busy clinical staff to assess visual impairment in older people.

Visual aids

The guide uses a series of questions and visual aids to help staff check eyesight at the patient’s bedside including visual tests for distance and near vision and information for clinicians about vision conditions common in older people.

Staff can ask questions such as whether a patient can see a television clearly at home and watch their eye movement by moving a pen around.

The RCP said is not intended to replace expert clinical assessment but can alert staff to potential concerns that can then be relayed to medical teams for further evaluation.

More than 600 falls a day happen in acute hospitals and mental health trusts in England and Wales every year. The most recent RCP national audit of inpatient falls showed less than half of older patients had a vision assessment when they went into hospital.

Ruth May, executive director of nursing at NHS Improvement, said: ‘This guide is a great example of how the health sector can work together to develop innovative solutions and we will continue to work alongside our partners to make sure patients’ risk of falls reduce.’

The tool is being freely offered to all acute hospital trusts in England and Wales. For further information or to receive a copy, email jane.mccormick@rcplondon.ac.uk


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