These guidelines are specifically written for use in public and private hospitals and residential aged care facilities. They are to be used to inform clinical practice and assist facilities to develop and implement practices to prevent falls and injuries from falls. Australians today are continuing to enjoy longer and longer life expectancy but for some this is frequently disrupted by falls. As we age, our sure-footedness declines and, at the same time, our bones become increasingly brittle. The comment that “she fell and broke her hip” is heard all too often – in fact, almost one-in-three older Australians will suffer a fall each year. Such falls can have extremely serious consequences, including significant disability and death.
There is considerable effort going into ameliorating the risk of falls in our community. Preventing falls and minimising their harmful effects in hospitals and aged care facilities is also critical. In these settings, older people are usually going through a period of intercurrent illness – with the resultant frailty and uncertainty that brings. They are at their most vulnerable in these unaccustomed settings, and accordingly attention has been paid to acquiring evidence of what can be done to minimise the occurrence of falls and their harmful effects, and to utilise these data in the Preventing Falls and Harm from Falls Best Practice Guidelines.
Preventing falls and harm from falls in older people: Best practice guidelines for Australian hospitals and residential aged care facilities 2008 is a second edition of the original 2005 guidelines. It is now available with a new design, updated URLs and smaller files for easier downloading.