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Derby falls expert helps create national safety tool

Published 20/11/2014

A Derby Hospital expert has helped develop a national tool to help improve care for patients who fall in hospital. 

Dr Jane Youde, consultant geriatrician, has played a pivotal role in the development of CareFall - a new interactive inpatient e-learning tool for doctors about what to do if a patient is on the floor and subsequent actions to ensure safe care.  

CareFall covers the safe and effective management of a patient who falls in hospital. This makes it an ideal learning tool for junior doctors, who are often the first doctors to see a patient after a fall, and for locum doctors, who may be unfamiliar with the ward’s individual procedures.  

The e-learning tool has been developed by the Royal College of Physicians (RCP), in partnership with Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and commissioned by NHS England. The tool covers the knowledge needed to identify and reduce patient and environmental risk factors to assist with reducing inpatient falls.  

CareFall concentrates on the key areas of knowledge for foundation doctors, including what to do after a patient falls, the relationship between medication and falls, and cardiovascular causes of falls. The tool has been developed with junior doctors and trainees, and is based on National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) and NICE guidance.  

CareFall follows the success of FallSafe, which developed an e-learning course for hospital ward nurses, and to date has seen over 12,000 NHS staff, mainly nurses, complete the e-learning course.  

Dr Youde said: “It is crucially important that we reduce the number of inpatient falls in hospitals and to achieve this we need to equip foundation level doctors with the skills they need to recognise the risks associated with falls and to understand what to do after a patient falls.  

“With an increasingly frail elderly population it is vital that we do all we can to reduce the number of falls which have such serious consequences for many of our patients. Derby Hospitals were pleased to collaborate with this project.”  

Dr Anita Donley, RCP clinical vice president and consultant physician in acute medicine said: “Older people are at an increased risk of falling which is worsened if they are in hospital, frail and ill. A fall in hospital can lead to a longer inpatient stay and a higher likelihood of the need for long-term care.  

“CareFall marks a significant advancement in ensuring that doctors are best able to prevent falls and work with the rest of the multidisciplinary team to ensure that patients receive the best care following a fall.”

Last Modified 21/11/2014