Elderly patient talking with a hospital clinician

Kingston University project reduces inpatient falls and saves NHS £13m

The NHS saved more than £13m and saw the number of inpatient falls across fall, as part of a major 10-year project carried out by a team of researchers from Kingston University and St George’s, University of London.

Over the decade that the project has ran, a 46% reduction in falls at the hospital where the project was being ran - the equivalent of around 5,000 fewer inpatient falls.

This also has allowed the NHS to save millions due to a reduction in imaging tests, shorter lengths of stay in hospital, fewer trips to theatre for surgery and a more efficient use of nurse time.

The ‘Becoming fall-safe: a framework for reducing inpatient falls programme’ was launched at Brighton and Sussex University Hospital (BSUH) NHS Trust in 2009, months after a catastrophic fall on a ward led to the death of a patient.

Professor Karen Norman, a visiting professor at Kingston University’s School of Nursing, worked with BSUH’s Head of Quality Improvement, Mark Renshaw, and Deputy Chief Nurse at Surrey and Sussex NHS Trust, Paula Tucker - who was also the former Head of Nursing at BSUH - to publish their findings.

Mr Renshaw said: "We learnt that best practice is something that is constantly evolving.

“The last few years have all been about trying to figure out why we've been so successful – especially in an area that is generally accepted you can't improve.

"One thing we quickly picked up on is how the power of interactions and the slightest change on the way you say things can make such a difference."

Professor Norman was working as Chief Nurse in Gibraltar when she was approached by her former colleague Mr Renshaw to help analyse what had led to the project’s success.

She explained: “We were having a similar issue with falls in Gibraltar, so Paula and Mark came to help us there. This gave us a chance to explore together what it was they were doing that made such a big difference.

“When I came back to the United Kingdom and joined Kingston University, we were fortunate to secure a small research grant from the School of Nursing to develop our work. I went down to Brighton and Sussex, where I used to be Director of Nursing, and saw they had created something very different and special – they were drilling down to each fall in context.”

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