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Ward sees dramatic drop in falls after introducing ‘safety huddles’

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A ward at Harrogate and District NHS Foundation Trust has seen inpatients falls drop by 70% since it introduced “safety huddles” almost 12 months ago.

Staff on Oakdale Ward at Harrogate District Hospital have been praised for their “team spirit” by the trust, which called the reduction in falls “impressive”.

“I am extremely proud of them for working together to achieve such an outstanding reduction”

Tammy Gotts

Oakdale Ward is a 29 bedded ward, which provides care for patients with stroke, neurology, oncology and haematological conditions.

The safety huddles, which were introduced in the ward in June last year, involve all ward staff getting together on a daily basis to discuss a particularly subject, with falls taking priority.

Staff on the ward meet every morning, including weekends, to discuss which patients are most at risk of falling on the ward, noted the trust.

They discuss patients who they feel are at risk and agree on a plan of action for that patient, ensuring that interventions are put in place to keep them as safe as possible.

The trust said benefits of huddles included reductions in the lengths of patient stays in hospital, keeping patients safe through a joined-up approach from staff and improved team communication.

“It’s excellent that staff have been so engaged from the first huddle and have kept the momentum going”

Carmel Lister

The reduction of 70% in patient falls on Oakdale Ward has seen the longest they have gone without a rise in patient falls to 40 days on two occasions.

This is compared to eight days before they implemented their falls safety huddles, according to the trust.

A trust spokesman said: “Before the implementation of the huddles, the longest the ward had gone without an inpatient fall was eight days. Whereas, since they started the huddles, that is a lot higher and in the 20s on average – even 40 on a couple of occasions.”

Tammy Gotts, matron for Oakdale Ward, said: “The team spirit I have seen from staff on the ward since we implemented our ‘safety huddles’ has been fantastic and has had a huge impact on patient safety.

“Staff have engaged really well with the huddles, and I am extremely proud of them for working together to achieve such an outstanding reduction,” she said.

She added: “The fact that something that can seem so small has such a huge impact on the care of our patients shows how important safety huddles are for all staff on wards.”

Carmel Lister, falls prevention co-ordinator and huddle coach with the trust, said: “It’s excellent that staff have been so engaged from the first huddle and have kept the momentum going.”

The huddles on Oakdale Ward have been accredited by the Improvement Academy, which is part of the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network.

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