April Falls Awareness Campaign

​​​Falls prevention​ affects us all

Falls prevention remains a key focus for the Canterbury health system as a major cause of avoidable harm. The most serious injuries from a fall are head injuries and hip fractures, and falls can kill.

Not only is the harm from falls devastating for the person who has fallen, and distressing for their families/whā​nau or caregivers, but it often means the person may need to stay longer in hospital, become more dependent on others, or have a lesser quality of life.

Older people have a higher risk of falling than others, and because they may also be frail, the consequences are often greater too. You may not consider yourself at risk, but there will be someone close to you who is - and you can help.

What can I do?

The risk of harm from a fall can be reduced, either by the person taking action themselves, or through others encouraging them to do the things that will help them stay safe.

If you are at risk, or an elderly neighbour, family member or friend might benefit from your support, read on:

Three simple things people at risk can do to prevent falls at home:

  1. Start a recommended exercise programme to maintain strength and improve balance.

  2. Make your home safe – keep floors clutter-free, fix down carpets, tidy power cords.

  3. Push with your legs and steady with your hands when getting up from a chair.

How community health professionals can help prevent falls at home:

  1. A General Practice team or pharmacist can review an at risk person's medications.

  2. A physiotherapist can recommend an exercise programme to improve strength and balance.

  3. Blurred vision makes falling more likely. People at risk should get their eyes checked by an optometrist.

For more information about reducing the risk of falling at home, a local Falls Champion can be contacted through General Practice teams, community nurses, physiotherapists, pharmacists or other health professionals.

April Falls 2015

April is once again Falls Awareness month. There are a number of activities planned to raise awareness and promote falls prevention in DHBs across the country.

Hospital Displays

There will displays throughout Canterbury DHB Hospitals to promote the importance of falls prevention to staff, patients and visitors. Through those displays and our hospital cinicial staff we will:

  • encourage people to enter the Health Quality and Safety Commission annual Falls Quiz

  • ask people to nominate staff who they think are excellent role models when it comes to putting falls prevention into practice, and

  • promote the resources available to help increase awareness of the importance of falls prevention (display material or information for example)

Activities aim to create a fun, interactive and memorable learning environment for staff, patients and visitors.

Nominate a Falls Prevention Champion

We want to hear about all the Falls Prevention Champions working in our Hospitals to keep patients safe. Nominate a staff member you think is great at putting falls prevention safety strategies into action. It should be someone who identifies the specific falls risk for each of their patients, and uses appropriate strategies to keep them safe from falling.

There will be a weekly prize draw so get your nominations in now

Send your completed nomination form to:

Michelle Morland-McRae, Project Facilitator, Corporate Quality & Patient Safety, Level 5, The Princess Margaret Hospital or email

HQSC Falls Quiz

Test your knowledge on falls prevention – enter the HQSC April Falls Quiz

The third annual national April Falls Quiz will run from 1 April to 1 May and can be entered online or via your smartphone http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/reducing-harm-from-falls/april-falls/2015/national-falls-quiz/

Useful links

For more information on falls prevention, check out:

HealthInfo: http://healthinfo.org.nz and search for 'falls prevention'

HQSC: http://www.hqsc.govt.nz/our-programmes/reducing-harm-from-falls/

HQSC Patient Information on Falls Prevention:

Falls Awareness Campaign
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Page last reviewed: 31 March 2015
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