Preventing Falls

In a nutshell: The Improvement Academy is supporting frontline teams in our partner organisations to use improvement science and evidence based interventions including safety huddles to reduce patient falls.

The Challenge

Reducing patient falls is cited as one of the ten Patient Safety areas identified in the Effectiveness Matters publication (York University, Centre for Reviews and Dissemination, 2013) and several Yorkshire organisations, including community providers, have already asked us for support and nominated clinical teams and leaders to work together on reducing falls.

What we are doing about it

We have developed a framework in which to undertake this safety improvement work and its core principles include:

  • Providing support in the team’s own clinical environment at the frontline of care
  • Complementing any existing safety improvement work
  • Equal partnership which recognises the clinical expertise and knowledge of the team
  • Draws upon the evidence based interventions where available

The Academy team provides expertise, support and learning in areas such as team safety culture, improvement science and measuring for improvement.

Current evidence shows that multi-component interventions are effective in reducing falls, including tailored bedside signage, advice on footwear and toileting schedules.

We are supporting teams in testing, implementation and measurement of interventions as follows:

  • Falls safety briefings (huddles) - Led by senior clinicians, to support the team to identify those patients most at risk of falling and plan to prevent such a fall
  • Above bed signage - to identify at a glance patients who are most at risk of falling
  • Reliable, pre breakfast “intervention” for all patients - includes toileting for those most at risk of falling

Teams have been successfully reducing falls and capturing progress on this on improvement run-charts.

Our future plans

We are scaling up and spreading our success across the region in different settings contributing widely to a much needed cultural shift away from accepting inpatient falls as the norm towards a proactive approach to prevention.

Yorkshire Huddles

See how Yorkshire Huddles are used to help improve many aspects of patient safety.

Effectiveness Matters - Patient Safety 10 things NHS Trusts should be doing (2013)

Effectiveness Matters - Preventing falls in hospital (August 2014)

NICE Falls guidelines (2013)

Alison Lovatt


01274 283934


The 1st North of England Falls Summit was held on 16th March 2015 in Leeds. Further information, including speaker abstracts and the presentation slides, can be found here.

This is the story of the event on Twitter: