e-Newsletter 5, 2020

NSW Healthy Ageing and Fall Prevention Network Launch Webinar

Save the Date: Friday 11th December 12:30pm - 1.15pm AEDT

The NSW Healthy Ageing and Fall Prevention Network is excited to celebrate the launch of it's new name, logo and website with a webinar on healthy ageing on Friday 11th December from 12.30 - 1.15pm AEDT. This event will provide an update on the new focus and goals of the Network and include a demonstration of our new website and E-Learning platform. Register to this event for free here

Western and Far West Rural Webinar recordings now available
Session recordings for the recent Western and Far West Rural Webinar are now available on our websiteThe day was a great success with excellent presentations highlighting different programs being run across these Local Health Districts. 

Session 1 focussed on Active Healthy Ageing, session 2 on Keeping Older People Safe and session 3  on Healthy Ageing into the Future. 

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Australian Vestibular Rehabilitation Conference Online Event

Content available 27th November - 7th December

The Australian Vestibular Rehabilitation Conference will begin later this month. This online event will share the latest research on VOR adaptation, balance and gait, BPPV, virtual reality and psychological aspects.

  • All presentations are pre-recorded (webinar-style), launched on Friday November 27th, 2020.
  • They will available as on-demand, unlimited viewing through membership access via the Brain Hub Academia website.
  • They will be available until midnight Monday 7th December, 2020.
  • Presenters notes are download and yours to keep.
  • A live Zoom call will take place on Friday 11th December with Prof’s Whitney, Schubert, Migliaccio and Lord in attendance, answering any of your questions regarding their presentations, research , clinical experience or related content.

Keynote Speakers

  •  Prof Sue Whitney (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Prof Michael Schubert (John Hopkins University)
  • Prof Americo Migliaccio (NeuRA)
  • Prof Stephen Lord (NeuRA)

For more information and to register go the their website.

Program Highlight

Southern NSW Local Health District – Northern Cluster Hospital Acquired Complications Falls Project

Falls resulting in serious injury or death are classified by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care as Hospital Acquired Complications (HAC) attracting both a financial penalty to the hospital and often life changing outcomes for the patients. Local Health District fall related HAC’s in January 2019 displayed an increasing trend in five wards across the Northern Cluster.

As a result, an innovative fall prevention model was developed locally, utilising the Institute of Healthcare Improvement principles which reduced falls resulting in serious injury by 25%.

A three pronged aim underpinned the project;

  1. Identify the structures required to build a strong team at the ward level to support quality improvement
  2. Test if the role of local clinicians as project officers enhanced outcomes
  3. Test the effectiveness of the interventions to reduce falls resulting in serious injury as a model for roll out across the LHD.

LHD leads provided support and structure for Project Officers to embed the approach at the ward level. Training, structured support and regular data collection were key to achieving process and outcome measures. Ward based teamwork, leadership from NUMS and engagement with the Executive sponsor have been key learnings that will enhance future projects.


Strategies implemented as part of the innovative fall prevention model included;

  • Teams were supported with a variety of training opportunities throughout the 8 month intervention period. Executive Sponsorship was consistent and invaluable. The Project Officers were supported by LHD clinical leads.
  • In collaboration with the Clinical Excellence Commission, a one day workshop was held to identify team priorities areas for improvement using ward level data. The Quality Improvement Data System was used to document project information.
  • Resources such as admission checklists were found to be transferrable across wards. There were opportunities to engage theatre and Emergency Departments through strategies such as ‘protected time’. ‘Protected time’ is a 15 minute window that allows clinicians on the Surgical Ward to undertake admission responsibilities without being interrupted.  This required theatre to provide notice to the ward of imminent admissions resulting in less chance of multiple patients arriving on the ward at the same time which can result in patient safety risks and documentation being missed.
  • Both Crookwell and Bourke St Health Service utilised administration staff to enhance project outcomes highlighting that patient safety is the responsibility of all team members. The team at Crookwell surveyed patients throughout their project which was beneficial in guiding small tests of change.

This program was a finalist for the Patient Safety First Award Category from the NSW Health Awards.

Niccola Follett and the HAC Falls Project, Southern NSW Local Health District

Upcoming Events

Research Highlight

Tailored exercise and home hazard reduction for fall prevention in older people with cognitive impairment: the i-FOCIS randomized controlled trial
Morag E Taylor, PhD, Jacqueline Wesson, PhD, Catherine Sherrington, PhD, Keith D Hill, PhD, Susan Kurrle, PhD, Stephen R Lord, DSc, Henry Brodaty, DSc, Kirsten Howard, PhD, Sandra D O’Rourke, BMedSc(Hons), Lindy Clemson, PhD, Narelle Payne, MPH, Barbara Toson, BStatEc, Lyndell Webster, BAppSc(Phty), Roslyn Savage, BAppSc(Phty), Genevieve Zelma, MOT, Cecelia Koch, BAppSc(OT Hons), Beatrice John, BSc(Hons)Phty, Keri Lockwood, BHSc, Jacqueline C T Close, MD
The Journals of Gerontology: Series A, glaa241, https://doi.org/10.1093/gerona/glaa241


The evidence to support effective fall prevention strategies in older people with cognitive impairment (CI) is limited. The aim of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) was to determine the efficacy of a fall prevention intervention in older people with CI.

RCT involving 309 community-dwelling older people with CI. The intervention group (n=153) received an individually prescribed home hazard reduction and home-based exercise program during the 12-month study period. The control group (n=156) received usual care. The primary outcome was rate of falls. Secondary outcomes included faller/multiple faller status, physical function and quality of life.

Participants’ average age was 82 years (95%CI 82-83) and 49% were female. There was no significant difference in the rate of falls (IRR 1.05 95%CI 0.73-1.51). A sensitivity analysis, controlling for baseline differences and capping the number of falls at 12 (four participants), revealed a non-significant reduction in fall rate in the intervention group (IRR 0.78 95%CI 0.57-1.07). Analyses of secondary outcomes indicated the intervention significantly reduced the number of multiple fallers by 26% (RR 0.74 95%CI 0.54-0.99) when adjusting for baseline differences. There was a differential impact on falls in relation to physical function (interaction term p-value=0.023) with a significant reduction in fall rate in intervention group participants with better baseline physical function (IRR 0.60 95%CI 0.37-0.98). There were no significant between group differences for other secondary outcomes.

This intervention did not significantly reduce the fall rate in community-dwelling older people with CI. The intervention did reduce the fall rate in participants with better baseline physical function.

Trial registration: Australian and New Zealand Trials Registry ACTRN12614000603617

Share your news

Do you have any news on Falls Prevention you want to share with others on the network, or report on a project that is happening in your area. We also welcome suggestions for articles and information you would like to see in this newsletter.  
Send your news and suggestions to: fallsnetwork@neura.edu.au

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Our mailing address is:
NSW Falls Prevention Network
Neuroscience Research Australia
PO Box 1165
Randwick NSW 2031


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