With Winter fast approaching and the colder, wetter weather just around the corner, now is the time of year when awareness about slip trip prevention is paramount. Melville Cares supports the ‘Stay On Your Feet’ Initiative through Injury Matters to teach our clients how they can make their homes safer, as well as educating them on the importance of the role our support staff play in prevention of falls in older adults.
Our biggest challenge is to get reablement and falls prevention awareness to clients via support staff BEFORE they are at risk of falling or fall. We work to achieve this by providing falls prevention education to My Aged Care support staff and a communication plan for each client that requires support. We are also able to facilitate in-house reablement training, and we generate awareness through distribution of Injury Matters publications and falls prevention brochures to at risk clients via support workers.
One of the most important things is to build the relationships between the client and their support worker. Earning a person’s trust and confidence takes time. The relationship and monitoring of the client journey can be deemed successful when the client is provided with a familiar face by being visited at regular times, and a comfortable environment has been established to allow for open discussion of any issues that may arise.
Our recipe: Why falls prevention education in the home via support workers is effective:
- It is the environment where most falls can occur. We are of the ‘prevention is better than cure’ mindset.
- Support worker falls prevention education provides worker confidence to deliver strategies appropriately.
- Support workers who are aware of falls prevention strategies can identify risks and suggest changes/solutions to the person they support.
- Successful initiatives and working together builds the trust between the client and support worker.
- Referrals are made to allied health specialists where necessary, and our support workers receive training on how to identify when to refer.
Team work is of high importance because older adults may find it difficult to identify their declining health problems or other issues they are concerned about on their own. Our support workers are trained to identify and openly discuss falls risks. Sometimes, clients may have a fear of admission due to the perceived threat of being forced into permanent care in a nursing home. Our clients are always encouraged to share their issues and concerns with support workers so they can then begin to work together to address them.
How Reablement can Assist Clients to Reduce their Falls Risk:
- Support workers are encouraged to discuss falls related risk factors that exist in and around the client’s home with them and provide management to find the best solutions.
- By sharing and discussing the Stay On Your Feet® Home Safety Checklist with clients, support workers can start a dialogue about falls risk factors and prevention strategies.
- Enablement training of Support Workers at Melville Cares has assisted to produce positive client outcomes by providing staff with the latest education and tools to introduce to their clients in their own homes.
- Falls prevention initiatives can be identified with the client, their options discussed, an action plan agreed upon and necessary changes acted on ….. all in the one visit! (However this time frame differs between clients).
It’s OK to talk about the issue, but what happens next?
The first challenge is to break old habits. Each client visit is an opportunity for the support worker to encourage behavioural change. It may be necessary for the support worker to remind the client of the reasons behind a particular change and the consequences for not sustaining that change.
To ensure lasting change, support workers, along with the client and their care team, can provide clients with long term support, regular monitoring and feedback to health professionals when necessary. Communication to all parties is vital, as the client journey is recorded using informative progress notes and enablement tracking.
If you would like to find out more about the Stay On Your Feet Initiative, you can read about it further on the Injury Matters / Stay On Your Feet websites: