A drop in falls has been observed at a care home on the South Coast, following the completion of an academic programme by one of its senior nurses.
As a result, she is looking at rolling out the falls prevention resources that she developed during her project across her employer’s 20 homes.
“Colleagues at both our pilot homes have been totally engaged and responsive”
Lindsay Rees, who is group-wide clinical manager at Colten Care, has just completed an internationally recognised older people’s care fellowship course at King’s College London.
She chose falls prevention as the focus of her year on the Masters-level programme, with her dissertation focusing on falls management in care homes.
Her falls project involved redesigning how two care homes assessed and managed their risk of residents falling. After a detailed literature review to identify current best practice, she introduced a new individual falls risk factor assessment and care plan, supported by staff engagement and awareness resources.
The resources helped staff to understand the causes of falls and put measures in place to reduce the risk of further falls, while promoting residents’ independence and wellbeing.
“Lindsay’s input has helped engage all our staff more directly”
A 24-week pilot scheme using the resources took place during her time on the King’s programme, which she completed last month with a graduation ceremony due in July.
In one of the pilot homes, Braemar Lodge in Salisbury, falls were observed to have decreased by more than a third.
Ms Rees said: “Reducing the number of falls in care homes benefits residents’ quality of life and avoids hospital admissions.
“I feel really honoured to have had the opportunity to research this specialism on the fellowship course and put the findings directly into action for the benefit of our residents,” she said.
“Colleagues at both our pilot homes have been totally engaged and responsive,” she added.
Ms Rees, who did her nurse training at Southampton General Hospital, has strategic responsibilities for the clinical care of more than 1,000 residents.
Source: Nathan Clarke
She has presented her findings on falls to the Health Education England Patient Advisory Forum and also at a House of Lords reception hosted by Baroness Sally Greengross, a peer specialising in issues around dementia, ageing and older people.
Ms Rees was among only 30 participants nationally on the King’s programme and one of just two from outside the NHS.
“Virtually all the other participants on the fellowship were senior NHS professionals,” said Ms Rees. “It was very rewarding to combine my private sector experience with their NHS insight.
She added: “It was a fantastic opportunity to study with this talented group of professionals.”
Following pilots at the provider’s Braemar Lodge and dedicated dementia care home in Poole, The Aldbury, Ms Rees is looking to roll out the falls management resources across all 20 Colten homes.
Jackie Cash, clinical lead at Braemar Lodge, said: “We were already proactive about falls management but Lindsay’s input has helped engage all our staff more directly.”
Home manager Alison Bremner added: “The resources are very visual. Having done supervisions using them with both day and night staff, I am confident our nurses feel more empowered in looking for correlations between falls and deciding on interventions and what is needed to ensure safety.”
“We are proud to have supported Lindsay through this prestigious programme”
Colten Care is a family-owned care home company, with homes across Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire and Sussex. It offers a range of services spanning residential, nursing and dementia care.
Elaine Farrer, operations director at Colten Care, said: “We are proud to have supported Lindsay through this prestigious programme as part of our overall commitment to clinical excellence.
“Ongoing personal development of team members, including the opportunity to take part in up-to-date learning and research, helps ensure our residents receive the best care possible,” she noted.
The King’s College fellowship is run by older people’s health experts at its Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery in London. Recognised world rankings have rated the faculty as currently the best in the UK for nursing and number three globally.