NSW Falls Prevention Network

Last week was a big week at Rehab Health and Fitness Australia.  Our Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy team members attended the NSW Falls Prevention Network Forum.  Having been supported to attend this yearly forum when I was a junior Physiotherapist we maintain our commitment to staff education by supporting them to attend.  Its a highly informative, hugely useful and world class networking event 

Having listened to a number of world class speakers over the previous years we were excited to again see Prof Jackie Close and Prof Stephen Lord as plenary speakers.  Then following the morning tea break we were excited to hear for the first time Prof Richard Flemming.  His talk on “Reducing falls by reducing confusion and agitation and then environment” was exactly what we needed to hear.  For far too long we have expressed our frustration with some home environments and hospital ward set ups with regard to acute confusion, falls and dementia.  Some really simple messages have stayed with me

Still allowing simple decision making for people with Dementia who end up confused and overwhelmed when they have too many choices.  Something as simple as having a locked wardrobe with all ones clothes in it, with a cupboard next to it with 2 outfits.  Decision can then be made.

What about a room next to the toilet.  Simply by people being able to see a toilet, rather than in the distance, or around a corner or with a closed door increased continence.  Again another no brainer, but needing to be reinforced to decision makes in Aged Care.  Too many times we try to create a sterile environment, pristine, hotel like.  We think that is what people need however reality is that it is the daily tasks that are required in our Aged Care Facilities or in a persons house…

Keeping up to date with the hip fracture rates always astounds me.  It frustrates me.

I always feel that these statistics show us we aren’t getting anywhere with our falls prevention message.  And its always our most crumbly patients who are falling.  I hate getting the phone call that tells us a client has sustained a # NOF, but look forward to hearing that they have made it home, that they succeeded in rehab and are back in the community.  This is where we should be going into overdrive to assist our clients with falls prevention strategies and get people more mobile and much more aware.  Again educating families and carers.  This will assist preventing another fall, for another community dwelling person….

Over all the feedback from the day was positive.  We love hearing about the Stepping On Programme, Otago exercise programme and what other Allied Health professionals are doing to Combat Falls.

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