'Eyes on Falls' this year's April Falls theme
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22 March 2016

Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) staff will be hard at work promoting Eyes on Falls during next month’s 2106 April Falls campaign.

WDHB director of nursing Sandy Blake says she has every confidence that WDHB staff and Whanganui eye care businesses will get behind the local Eyes on Falls theme as well as the overarching April Falls theme of Prevention, review and learning from falls.

Also the Health Quality & Safety Commission’s  (HQSC) clinical lead for the falls programme across New Zealand, Mrs Blake says Prevention, review and learning from falls applies to primary and community care, hospitals, and aged residential care as well as ACC and the Ministry of Health which both view falls-related injury prevention (with a focus on older adults) a high priority.

“Because WDHB staff are cognisant year round of the underlying April Falls message that ‘Falls prevention is everyone’s business’, I’m sure we will do well raising awareness about falls.

“Our Safe Footwear event last year was hugely successful in making people think about how important it is to buy and wear shoes that help keep them safe from falls. To now put the focus on the critical role that good vision plays in falls prevention, Whanganui DHB will have an ‘Eyes on Falls’ stand in Whanganui Hospital’s Main Entrance on 1 April.
 
Resources associated with eyesight and falls prevention such as brochures, check lists, posters and pocket cards will be available at the display and we’ll have a quiz with prizes on offer for patients, friends, family and staff members. Copies of the Atlas of Healthcare variation will also be available to enable staff and patients to see for themselves how the Atlas works.
 
Because falls prevention traverses primary and community care, hospitals, and aged residential care, the introduction of Whanganui’s newly developed Map of Medicine falls prevention pathway will be a key project for Whanganui’s 2016 April Falls campaign.
 
“This is the culmination of more than a year’s work by the DHB, our primary care partners, and NGOs,” says WDHB associate director of nursing (special projects) Maree Sheard says. “The general thrust of the Map of Medicine for falls prevention is to provide the pathway to the best care of those people who have been identified as being at risk of falls and those people who have fallen.  It’s tailored to meet our community’s ability to respond while using international best practice standards.”

The WDHB, in partnership with primary care and community groups, leads falls prevention strategies for the Whanganui district. It does this in part, by raising awareness of falls prevention with health professionals, as well as consumers. However, Mrs Sheard says the ‘big player’ in this effort really is the Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC).