Programs Falls Prevention
The Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Health, seeks to promote a comprehensive, systemic approach to falls prevention within NSW. This is outlined in the NSW Health policy directive: . PD2011_029 Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People: 2011-2015. This policy aims to reduce the incidence and severity of falls among older people and reduce the social, psychological and economic impact of falls on individuals, families and the community.
No other single cause of injury, including road trauma, costs the health system more than falls.
Falls Prevention information for patients and consumers, 7 have been translated into other languages.
The Flyers can NOW be ordered through Fuji Xerox (formally Salmat). Please click here for order number and prices.
Falls are common among older people
- More than one in four people aged 65 or over have at least one fall per year and many fall more than once. Falls are even more common among residents of aged care facilities, up to half of whom fall at least once a year.
Fall-related injury is a major cause of morbidity and mortality for older people
- In 2009 26% of NSW residents aged 65 years or older fell at least once.
- In NSW each year falls lead to approximately 27,000 hospitalisations and at least 400 deaths in people aged 65 years and older. The rate (age-standardised) of hospitalisations for falls is over three times higher among residents of aged care facilities than among the other older people.
- Age-standardised rates of fall-related hospitalisations among older have been increasing for more than 10 years.
- Even non-injuries falls can have negative impacts such as loss of confidence and activity restriction.
- Falls are the most commonly reported adverse event among hospital inpatients.
Falls generate substantial costs for the health care system and aged care system
- Hospital stays and rehabilitation can be long and expensive. Having had a recent fall is one of the leading reasons for premature admission to residential aged care.
- In NSW, no other single injury cause, including road trauma, costs the health system more than fall injury.
- In NSW in 2006/07 the total cost of health care associated with fall injury was estimated at $558.5 million. Hospital admitted cases accounted for an estimated 84.5% of total costs and ED presentations for 9% of total costs.
The burden from fall related harm among older people will grow unless action is taken.
- Projections indicate that without preventative action, the health system costs from fall injury are likely to show a dramatic escalation due to expected large increase in the number of older people in NSW in upcoming years.
Falls can be prevented
There has been extensive research demonstrating that many falls among older people can be prevented, even in frail older people.
Reference for the above from - Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People 2011-2015 NSW Health
NSW Health Falls PolicyNSW Health Prevention of Falls and Harm from Falls among Older People: 2011-2015 policy directive is available on the Ministry of Health website. Doc No.: PD2011_029
The incidence and cost of falls injury among older people in New South Wales 2006/07 The report provides the most comprehensive estimate to date of the costs associated with falls injury among older people in NSW. The total cost of health care associated with fall-related injury, among older people, to NSW, in 2006/07, is estimated at $558.5 million.
The considerable cost of these injuries to the NSW health system and the community underscores the need for significant investment in falls injury prevention, in both the community and residential aged care settings, to reduce these costs. Data from this study will be used in: cost-effectiveness studies on falls interventions at the population level; to inform NSW falls prevention policy development; and the prioritisation of evidence-based prevention programs within the community.
New South Wales Falls Prevention Baseline Survey: 2009 Report
In 2009 the Centre for Epidemiology and Research conducted the New South Wales Falls Prevention Baseline Survey to inform the review of the Management Policy to Reduce Falls Injury Among Older People 2003-07. The mains aims of the survey are to provide information about falls carers, falls status, risk and protective factors, consultation with health professionals, and falls knowledge, among community-dwelling older people. This report from the survey provides information about the health of 5,681 adults aged 65 years and over, which will provide a baseline measure against which policy can be developed and the effectiveness of population health initiatives can be evaluated.
The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Hospitalisations due to falls by older people 2006-07 to 2008-09 summary report - PDF ~1.26mb
The Hospitalisations due to falls by older people reports analyse fall-related hospital separations data from the National Hospital Morbidity Database for the financial years 2006-07, 2007-08 and 2008-09. Three main types of fall-related hospitalisation are examined: fall injury cases (having a principal diagnosis in the 'community injury' range and a principal external cause describing a fall); addition hospitalisations for patients transferred to a second hospital after their initial hospitalisation; and, fall-related follow-up care separations, such as for rehabilitation. These episodes of hospital care are considered to be directly attributable to serious (injurious) fall events.
- Hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2008-09 - link opens new window
- Hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2007-08 - link opens new window
- Hospitalisations due to falls by older people, Australia 2006-07 - link opens new window
CEC is supporting local health districts (LHD) to implement the 2009 Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) falls prevention best practice guidelines in NSW health clinical settings as follows:
- Identify people at risk of falls and implementing strategies to care for them.
- Implementing post-fall guidelines.
- Reporting and monitoring of fall incidents and providing feedback to ward staff.
- Developing collaboration between health and community service providers.
- Identify falls risk factors and implementing strategies to care for people at risk, including referral to suitable programs offered by community health teams, general practitioners, Ambulance Service NSW and community service providers.
Residential care sector
- Supporting providers of residential aged care with implementation of the falls best-practice guidelines.
The purpose of the network is to share falls prevention knowledge, expertise, and resources across the three settings mentioned above. The role of this network includes:
- Forums for discussion of falls related issues;
- Dissemination of models of good practice, a bi-monthly newsletter and research findings both local and international.
To join visit the NSW Falls Prevention Network website.
Falls Prevention information flyers for patients and consumers - Link
A suite of falls prevention information flyers that can be used in hospital and the community
2013 CEC Post Fall Guide - PDF ~375kb
2013 Post Fall Assessment and Management - PDF ~1.4Mb
Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare 2009 Falls Prevention Best Practice Guidelines
The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in Older People: Best Practice Guidelines for Australian Hospitals, Residential Aged Care Facilities and Community Care 2009 were endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers in November 2009.
Research has shown that falls can be prevented. The guidelines are to inform clinical practice in three settings: the hospital, community care and residential aged care.
About the Guidelines
For each setting there is a Guideline which provides the evidence-base and a Guidebook which is a shorter version of the Guideline designed for front-line staff.
Learn more about the Falls Prevention Guidelines or click on the link or the image in which you work for the relevant guidelines, guidebook and fact sheets.
- Also available - Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare 2009 Falls Prevention Implementation guidelines for Hospital and Residential Aged Care facilities. - PDF ~ 1.32mb
- Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in hospital PPP, June 2012 - PDF ~2.2mb
- Resources for Hospital care, May 2012 - PDF ~392kb
- Falls Prevention Strategies for Hospital - PDF ~140kb
Falls Prevention in Hospitals: For older person aged 65 years or over
- PDF ~252kb | TXT ~2kb
- Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in Community Care, June 2012 PPP - PDF ~1.75mb
- Summary of Community Care Falls Prevention Strategies - PDF ~140kb
- Resources for Community Care, May 2012 - PDF ~344kb
- "Falls Look Out Please" - PDF ~124kb
- Special Edition NSW Falls Prevention Network Newsletter - PDF ~435kb
- Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) - Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in Older People: Best Practice Guidelines for Australian Hospitals, Residential Aged Care Facilities and Community Care 2009
- Staying active and on your feet
- Active and Healthy website and information sheet | weblink | PDF ~608kb
A useful website to find a falls prevention exercise program in your local community. Programs include Tai Chi, Stepping On, Gentle Exercises and more.
- CEC Staying active and on your feet/Fall Proof yourself - information sheet
Useful falls prevention information sheet | PDF ~124kb
- CEC Falls Prevention and Bone Health/Fall proof yourself - information sheet
Useful falls prevention and bone health information sheet | PDF ~720kb
- Don't Fall for it….Falls can be prevented
- Special Edition Falls Links Newsletter, 2012 - Fall Links | PDF ~1.6mb
- April Falls Day, 2011 - Fall Links | PDF ~1.8mb
- April Falls Day, 2010 - Fall Links | PDF ~1.8mb - CEC Falls Day | PDF ~475kb
- April Falls Day, 2009 - Fall Links | PDF ~552kb
For further information or comment on the Draft Post Fall Assessment and Management please contact Lorraine Lovitt, Leader NSW Falls Prevention Program at email@example.com
Further information on the Guidelines
How to order
NSW Health staff who would like a limited number of copies please complete the Order Form - PDF ~420kb (New Form)
All other persons interested in obtaining a copy of the guideline, guidebook and CD (private providers, non-government agencies, community care and residential aged care) you can purchase copies from the Queensland Government Bookshop.
Phone: 13 13 04
The guidelines cost around $19, the guidebooks $5 and a CD $1.25 each.
Preventing Falls in NSW Hospitals
The aim of this CD/DVD resource is to facilitate staff to discuss common fall events on their wards and take action to prevent them.
There are 4, fall case studies of varying severity that are highlighted in this package; they are examples of actual fall events that have occurred in hospital. Following the fall event is the post fall procedures and an alternative approach to prevent the fall. The information is based on the Safety and Quality Council Best Practice Guidelines for Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls in older people, 2005 and actual Fall events recorded in the NSW Health Incident Information Management System (IIMS).
For a copy of the CD/DVD which includes the PowerPoint presentations and video along with the education manual which highlights how to best run the education session with a group of clinicians, please contact CEC staff:
Phone: 02 9269 5516
Previous NSW April Falls Day/Month activities
April Falls Day/Month promotes falls prevention in hospital, community and residential aged care. Many NSW health facilities have been running April Falls Day activities during the month of April for a number of years. It's a great way to involve patients, families, carers and the community in raising
awareness about falls prevention.
Some of the April Falls Day/Month activities across the state are featured in NSW Falls Prevention Network Falls Link newsletter.
2013 May : NSW Falls Prevention Network Forum
The annual forum was held at the Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt Street, Sydney. This year the special focus was on Collaborative approaches to falls prevention. The forum was attended by 353 professionals from hospitals, community services, residential aged care, health promotion, and local government and consumer representatives from across the state. The Plenary Sessions were web streamed with 50 participants.
The PDFs of the presentations from the 20th NSW Falls Prevention Network Forum are available ~ opens new window
2013 May : NSW Falls Prevention Network Rural Forums
Key falls prevention experts provided presentations at half day forums in Dubbo (81 participants) and Broken Hill (48 participants). Participants travelled from 21 rural locations to attend the Dubbo Forum and 3 rural locations to attend the Broken Hill Forum. These sessions were a collaborative between the NSW Falls Prevention Network, NSW Falls Prevention Program, Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC) and the Aged Health Network, Agency for Clinical Innovation (ACI). The forums supported staff in Western NSW LHD and Far West LHD. The information was found to be very useful to those who attended.
The PDFs of the presentations are available on the NSW Falls Prevention Network website ~ opens new window
Contact the NSW Falls Prevention team at the Clinical Excellence Commission:-
Ms Lorraine Lovitt
NSW Leader, NSW Falls Prevention Program
Clinical Excellence Commission
Locked Bag A4062
Sydney South NSW 1235
(02) 6656 5326
Project Officer, NSW Falls Prevention Program
(02) 9269 5516