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J Clin Nurs. 2012 Jul;21(13-14):1896-905. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2702.2012.04121.x.

Beyond the 'tick and flick': facilitating best practice falls prevention through an action research approach.

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1
School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.

Abstract

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES:

To examine residential aged care facility staff views on using falls risk assessment tools and the implications for developing falls prevention practices in the context of an action research project.

BACKGROUND:

Falls risk assessments play an important role in care planning by identifying and monitoring aged care facility residents most at risk of falls. Yet while such assessments are recommended in falls prevention best practice guidelines, there is little published research that examines staff procedures and views related to conducting falls risk assessments.

DESIGN:

Falls risk assessments were undertaken in the context of an action research project.

METHOD:

Twelve staff members from two residential aged care facilities (RACFs) in Tasmania formed a single Falls Action Research Group, which met 22 times over a year, providing the study's qualitative data. During this time, key group members assessed 178 residents using a new falls risk assessment tool (FROP-Resi).

RESULTS:

According to group members, facilities evolved from a 'tick-and-flick' approach to falls risk assessment to a more individualised, face-to-face assessment process. Group members perceived the process to be more meaningful and enjoyable for staff involved in the assessment process resulting in higher quality of assessments and leading to improved levels of falls awareness among staff, residents and family caregivers.

CONCLUSIONS:

An action research process is useful for facilitating a new approach to falls risk assessments, engaging aged care facility staff with falls prevention and prompting improvements in falls prevention practices.

RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE:

RACFs need to provide opportunities for staff to meet regularly to discuss practice, identify issues and take action. By doing so, staff can engage meaningfully with best practice activities such as optimising falls risk assessment processes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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