Yellow socks

Innovative yellow socks scheme helping NHS staff prevent falls

Patient health outcomes are being improved after University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust (UHBD) became the latest Trust to launch the innovative Think Yellow scheme.

The Think Yellow initiative was first launched in 2021 at East Kent Hospitals University and entails patients, who are at a particular risk of falling, being given special yellow socks and blankets to make it easier for staff to identify them.

When it was first trialled, clinicians at East Kent found that the programme significantly reduced the amount of falls in their Emergency Departments and Medical Units, with not a single patient issued with a yellow blanket and socks falling after six weeks, and the overall number of falls dropping by 50%.

The resounding success of the scheme triggered a number of other hospitals up and down the country to implement similar projects, with UHDB now joining the party.

Senior Falls Practitioner at UHBD, Natalie Keightley, said: “Falls are a complex issue as there are over 400 individual risk factors that combine together to increase a patient’s risk of falling. That means each patient requires an individualised approach to reduce their individual risk factors. While some falls are inevitable, it is important that we try to reduce the risk as much as possible.

“We know that falls are the leading cause of death through injury for those aged 75 and over and 60% of those who fall once will fall again in the same year. It is a really big issue and we hope that this will have a positive impact to help keep patients safe while they are being cared for in our hospitals.”

The scheme also provides support for the business units around communicating the risk for patients when they are being transferred from one area of the hospital to another for scans or simply being discharged.

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