As a hospice MDT we have explored our falls data continually to identify and mitigate risk of falls in our patients on our 16-bedded in-patient unit. With robust systems and interventions in place, we identified new patterns in data indicating psychological causes of falls as a significant contributing factor, which were not addressed by existing research or literature.
Having noticed a correlation between Karnofsky scores, loss of function, and patient narratives associated with falls incidents, it was possible to explore falls interventions that address psychosocial needs in addition to existing strategies. Utilising the skills of the MDT, specifically combining approaches of Occupational Therapy and Psychotherapy it has been possible to explore interventions that support psychological needs related to loss of function that impact on the risk of falling. With the lack of existing research in this area it has been possible to drive innovation in falls management approaches within our organisation.
The aim of the collaboration has been to:
Enhance patient care and increase patient safety.
Empower patients to enhance confidence altering perceptions by challenging self-concept.
Provide support developed through understanding of the person, therapeutic relationships, and person centredness.
True collaboration of professional approaches enabled exploration and development of a process to identify influencing factors in relation to the person and the risk of falling. Moving away from the traditional model of falls interventions it has been possible to explore cognitive, social and personal influences associated with falls using a truly holistic approach, acknowledging and responding to psychosocial falls factors. By developing a process of screening patients and identifying those in need of a whole person approach it is possible to utilise these strategies with the aim of preventing falls.
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