Reflective accounts

Falls risk assessment

A CPD article improved Bethany Johnson’s knowledge of falls risk assessments for older people
patient supported in walking

A CPD article improved Bethany Johnsons knowledge of falls risk assessments for older people

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed falls risk assessment for older inpatients. It outlined the physical and psychological factors that nurses should consider when undertaking these assessments, and detailed the effects that older people may experience as a result of a fall.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article improved my knowledge of falls risk screening tools and assessments, and the importance of completing falls risk assessments for older inpatients, both on admission and regularly during their hospital stay.

I learned that the aim of falls risk screening tools is to enable healthcare practitioners to identify patients at

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A CPD article improved Bethany Johnson’s knowledge of falls risk assessments for older people


Picture: Getty

What was the nature of the CPD activity, practice-related feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article discussed falls risk assessment for older inpatients. It outlined the physical and psychological factors that nurses should consider when undertaking these assessments, and detailed the effects that older people may experience as a result of a fall.

What did you learn from the CPD activity, feedback and/or event and/or experience in your practice?

The article improved my knowledge of falls risk screening tools and assessments, and the importance of completing falls risk assessments for older inpatients, both on admission and regularly during their hospital stay.

I learned that the aim of falls risk screening tools is to enable healthcare practitioners to identify patients at high risk of falls, by considering intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors. Intrinsic risk factors relate to the patient’s condition, age, impairments and history of falls, while extrinsic factors are related to the environment or organisation.

However, because screening tools can never be completely accurate in predicting risk, guidelines recommend that all patients aged 65 years and over are considered at high risk of falls.

Falls risk can be a challenging subject to discuss with patients, particularly if there are no apparent factors that place them in the high-risk category.

How did you change or improve your practice?

I have had some experience of completing falls risk assessments during my practice placements; however, I was not confident I had completed them correctly. Reading the article has increased my confidence in undertaking such assessments.

I am aware of the importance of using a holistic approach, taking into account factors that could increase falls risk that I had not considered; for example, oxygen tubing, which can present a tripping hazard. Using a holistic approach has enabled me to undertake comprehensive falls risk assessments, which may indicate the requirement for equipment such as bed rails and patient movement sensors to minimise the risk of falls.

When completing falls risk assessments, I will ensure I consult other members of the multidisciplinary team, to gain relevant clinical information about the patient that may increase their falls risk, for example their medication or changes in their mobility or cognitive ability. I will take care to check the environment for factors that could increase the risk of falls, such as untidy floors and tangled wires.

How is this relevant to the Code? Select one or more themes: Prioritise people, Practise effectively, Preserve safety, Promote professionalism and trust

One aspect of The Code theme of prioritising people is for nurses to assess and respond to patients’ physical needs. Falls risk assessments aim to maintain patient safety by enabling interventions to be implemented that will reduce the incidence of falls, such as removing obstacles from the environment.

Nurses should ensure patients’ care plans are completed accurately and updated regularly, particularly when there has been a change in the patient’s condition.

To practise effectively, The Code states nurses must keep their knowledge and skills up to date. It is important for nurses to take responsibility for developing their knowledge of falls risk assessments to safeguard patient safety and provide optimum care.

Bethany Johnson is a nursing student at the University of Chester


This reflective account is based on NS854 Matarese M, Ivziku D (2016) Falls risk assessment in older patients in hospital. Nursing Standard. 30, 48, 53-60.

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