DHB remains short of fall safety target

KELSEY FLETCHER
Last updated 10:40 25/01/2014

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Newly released health figures show MidCentral District Health Board is still not doing enough to prevent falls in older patients.

The quarterly figures, released by the Health Quality and Safety Commission, mark district health boards' progress and encourage them to improve patient safety.

In the quarter July to September 2013, MidCentral's assessments for risk of fall increased from 78.4 per cent to 82.9 per cent, but was still short of the 90 per cent target.

A slight increase was also seen in the target for hand hygiene, which MidCentral has achieved or almost achieved for the past three quarters.

District health boards are encouraged to meet 70 per cent compliance for best practice hand hygiene.

MidCentral just missed out on achieving the target to reduce harm at all stages during surgery - set at 90 per cent - with 89.8 per cent, falling from 95.6 per cent.

MidCentral patient safety and clinical effectiveness director Muriel Hancock said quality and safety markers track the level of harm and cost associated with a particular health issue, and look at simple steps to reduce risk of harm.

"While overall results are positive for MidCentral . . . further improvement is required in all areas, particularly with regard to falls assessment," she said.

"These results have been provided to staff responsible for leading work in relation to these areas with planning continuing to achieve improved outcomes for our patients."

Ms Hancock said these areas were part of the Open for Better Care campaign that MidCentral, was participating in with other DHBs.

"As a result of working with other health boards we have a greater opportunity to learn from others about what is working well to improve both these markers and other aspects of patient safety," she said.

"One example of the work at MidCentral is the pilot programme in Ward 25 known as the Falls Aware Ward, where the five essentials of falls prevention - the call bell within reach, suitable footwear, regular toileting programme, bedspace free of clutter and bed low - are being made a priority for all staff to focus on in a concerted effort to reduce the risk of patients falling in the ward."

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