CASE STUDY: Trips & Falls Prevention at Southmead Hospital

Trips and falls had been a huge issue within Southmead Hospital when it opened in May 2015, resulting in serious injuries with a local report stating  “Serious falls result in increased length of stay and a heightened risk of infection.”

Over 700 falls were reported in the first year of opening, a 19% increase in comparison to the previous year. As a result, ‘Two patients have died after falling over at the new £430 million Southmead Hospital. In three months, nine patients suffered hip fractures, two sustained skull haemorrhages, three suffered thigh fractures, and one patient had serious facial fractures, all caused by falls.’  (Bristol Post)

A solution was needed to reduce the risk of falling, potential back injury and to enable discharges to minimise the risk of infection.

The local OT and Physiotherapist teams supported transfers and rehabilitation with a focus on successful discharges. In a project to find equipment that would best provide a suitable and safe stand, as well as protecting the staff from back injury, the Trust spent 2 weeks reviewing the ReTurn range consisting of the ReTurn7400, ReTurn7500i and ReTurn7600 models, plus the associated accessories such as the ReTurnBelt. In what was called a ‘Perfect therapy’ week, they looked at different ways of delivering the best, most efficient services to patients.

Suitable manual handling equipment was the key and, by demonstrating the benefits, the team were able to show how useful the ReTurn7500i could be, building the confidence of the ward staff. The ReTurns also proved to be suitable for single handed care in the community.

Following an intense, detailed review with in-situ trials, the trust found a budget from their Trips and Falls funding to purchase a number of ReTurns. Jill Boot, Lead Physiotherapist for Acute said ‘I want to say a huge thank you for the loan of the equipment, it had a brilliant effect on the wards which used it. The staff were able to get patients out of bed safely and easily, so that they could access the bathrooms and sit out for longer periods. This was a really positive rehabilitation benefit. In fact all the therapy and nursing staff could really see the benefits.’

Direct Healthcare Group have continued to support the trust with training on the ward for OT’s, Physio’s and HCA’s. This will ensure they are all fully competent and confident when using the ReTurn’s.