A new study has found that the commonly used method of identifying people at risk of falling is ineffective.
Researchers at Macquarie University analyzed the records of nearly 6,000 residents from 25 residential nursing homes who use the Peninsula Health Falls risk assessment tool to identify people at greatest risk of falling.
The tool – included in the Australian Health and Safety Commission’s recommendation for fall prevention – takes into account factors such as recent falls, medication, psychological status and cognitive status to determine risk levels. A value is then assigned to determine how much the person is at risk of falling, and this can drive care plans to prevent falls.
According to a study by Macquarie University, a tool widely used in nursing homes across Australia, accurately predicted a drop in six months after using the tool in only 33.6% of residents, which statistically demonstrates poor performance.
A study by Dr. Nasir Wabe of the Australian Institute of Health Innovation (AIHI) at Macquarie University says it was the first to evaluate the effectiveness of this widely used tool and points to ways to improve it to provide better access to fall. prevention strategies for vulnerable people.
When the study lowered the assessment limit at which people were assessed as at higher risk of falling, the reliability of falling predictions increased from 33.6% to 74%.
“For nursing homes that already use this tool, lowering the threshold, which is considered more risky, is a change that can be easily implemented and immediately improve the safety of residents,” Wabe said.
“Further improvements will be made if electronic systems, such as those developed at Macquarie University, are able to analyze regularly collected resident data and use it to predict real-time risk rather than relying on what may be disposable and potentially obsolete. assessment ”.