Improving falls risk screening and prevention using an e-learning approach

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AimThis study investigated the impact of an e-learning education programme for nurses on falls risk screening, falls prevention and post-falls management.BackgroundFalls injury within older inpatients is a major patient safety concern.MethodUsing a pre–post design, observation of the patient and environment and patient health care record audits, were conducted following the introduction of a falls e-learning education programme.ResultsAudits of patient health care records (using the Falls Chart Audit Tool), together with observation of practice for 119 (pre) and 99 (post) patients, were undertaken. Initial risk screening was conducted using the Modified Ontario Stratify Scale for most patients (95%). Interventions such as a falls risk flag in the records/on beds, supervision when the patient is mobilising or in the bathroom, area clear of hazards, use of chair/bed alarms, and referral to allied health staff were significantly improved.ConclusionsInitial risk screening of patients and improvements in preventive interventions were demonstrated.Implications for nursing managementThis falls e-learning programme represents a cost-effective method of increasing falls mitigation strategies within large organisations. The Falls Chart Audit Tool provides a valuable monitoring tool for managers. Falls risk screening when the patient's condition changes, requires vigilance by managers or reminders within clinical information systems.

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