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Trust to 'pimp' walking frames to try and reduce falls

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A colourful new programme has been launched at Medway NHS Foundation Trust to try and reduce patient falls in its hospitals and improve the wellbeing of those who use walking frames.

From 10 April, staff at its Medway Maritime Hospital will be encouraging older patients to decorate their walking frames, making them more personalised and more recognisable.

“Individuals will want to use their frames as they’re more personal to them”

Kerry O’Neil

The aim of the new programme is to create a culture where older patients take more ownership of their frames, encouraging them to use them rather than leave them by the bedside, said the trust.

The trust said it took inspiration for the new initiative from a nursing home in the neighbouring county of Essex – Chalkney House, near Halstead – that received national media attention in December for its “Pimp My Zimmer” programme.

The hospital trust said the nursing home first carried out the programme with residents during 2016 and saw a dramatic 60% reduction in falls following the introduction of the simple idea.

Medway NHS Foundation Trust

Trust to ‘pimp’ walking frames to try and reduce falls

Chris Martin, John McLaughlin, Laura Warne and Kerry O’Neil

Kerry O’Neil, falls prevention nurse specialist at Medway, said: “We have been working very hard across the trust to reduce the numbers of patient falls in hospital by implementing simple strategies like this one.

“Often elderly patients may forget to use their frames, or simply decide they do not need them when getting out of bed which unfortunately often leads in them falling,” she said.

“Using frames for many elderly patients is part of their daily lives; this programme creates an atmosphere of ownership where individuals will want to use their frames as they’re more personal to them,” she added.

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