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Falls incident reporting: forms, protocols and auditing
Systematic approaches to reporting and auditing falls should be routine in residential aged care facilities to help inform your falls prevention program. It is important to gather standardised information about falls and fall related injuries in your facility by using a falls incident report form. It is also important to use a standard definition of a fall to ensure all relevant incidents are reported. Go to definitions of a fall <Definitions of a fall>.
A falls incident report form can be used to document what happened in a falls incident, the circumstances leading to the fall, contributing factors to the fall (for example medical condition, mobility, sensory deficits, environmental factors), level of injury sustained, consequences of the fall and any actions taken or recommended. Incident report forms can help identify issues such as where falls most often occur, the time falls most often occur, and the activities that precipitate most falls.
Following the completion of a series of incident report forms (for example monthly) it is important that they are reviewed and analysed, and that this information is then reported to staff, residents and families. An effective way of analysing falls, falls-related injuries and falls circumstances is by using an electronic database, which allows you to develop graphs.
Graphing and analysing data about falls from incident report forms can provide:
A template has been developed as part of the Victorian Quality Council falls prevention guidelines to guide those who do not have established electronic database systems for collecting and graphing falls incident form data (see Tools Supplement for instructions, and Falls Analysis – Demonstration weblink (excel file) www.health.vic.gov.au/qualitycouncil/pub/improve/falls.htm).
It is important to note that when new reporting procedures are introduced, and awareness of the importance of reporting all falls is raised, initially there may appear to be an increase in the number of falls in the facility. Staff may become discouraged. However, other data, such as number of serious injuries, number of multiple fallers etc may show a reduction. It is important that you keep reporting all falls and implementing and reviewing falls prevention interventions.
To assist you to effectively report falls incidents and analyse them, the following resources have been included on this website: