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April falls day campaign carries serious message

16 April 2012
Waitemata DHB chose April Fools’ Day to launch a new campaign raising staff awareness about how they can help prevent patient falls.

The ‘April Falls Day’ exercise saw information booths running at North Shore Hospital and Waitakere Hospital to raise visibility of the harm caused to patients when they fall.

“It served to let staff know we’re not just accepting a high falls number – we’re being proactive and we’re doing something about it,” said Waitemata DHB Quality Improvement Specialist Nicola Saseve.

“There is a culture shift required and we are well on the way but this was a great opportunity to highlight the message that falls prevention is the responsibility of all staff.”

The information booths featured material on a range of initiatives targeted at falls reduction, including a trial of non-slip socks and bold stickers for patient charts to clearly alert staff to those who have already had a fall and are, therefore, most at-risk.

While there was positive feedback from the target internal audience, managers were pleasantly surprised by the level of interest from members of the public within the hospital.

“We had people dropping by the booths who were at the hospital visiting friends and family members who had been admitted due to a fall-related injury.

“They were wanting to know things like where they can buy non-slip socks for use at home to reduce the chance of further falls.

“It made us realise that we need to be doing more to communicate internally what we’re doing about falls prevention.

“The whole exercise was worthwhile – it succeeded in raising good awareness around falls with our internal audience but also allowed us to show the wider audience how seriously we take this issue.

“We would like to do this again next year to build on the awareness levels and to report back on what new initiatives we’ve put in place.”

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