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Falls prevention

Capital and Coast District Health Board recognises that inpatient falls is our second most reportable event. Serious harm from falls is the main reported serious adverse event. The DHB is committed to provide quality and safe care to reduce the impact and harm from falls. This makes it vital that all patients are assessed for falls risk factors and these are addressed.

The Health Quality & Safety Commission (HQSC "the Commision" ) is working with DHBs to highlight that "falls prevention is everyone's business" and that the falls rates can be reduced by sharing best practice across NZ.



Falls can be life-changing

  • Falls prolong hospital stay
  • Falls are costly
  • We have a duty of care to prevent harm
  • Health professionals and support staff working together can make a difference in our efforts to prevent and reduce the risk of falls as well as minimising harm from falls


Preventing falls in hospital


Falls were the leading cause of serious injuries reported by hospitals in the 2011–12 year. This video looks at interventions that prevent falls and reduce harm from falls in hospitals

The Commission's focus on FALLS newsletter is  a quarterly publication for everyone interested in understanding and preventing falls in older people.


Ten topics in reducing harm from falls

  1. Falls in older people: the impact
  2. Which older person is at risk of falling? Ask, assess, act
  3. Falls risk assessment and care planning: what really matters?
  4. Safe environment and safe care: essential in preventing falls
  5. After a fall: what should happen?
  6. Why hip fracture prevention and care matters
  7. Vitamin D and falls: what you need to know
  8. Medicine: balancing benefits and falls risks
  9. Improving balance and strength to prevent falls
  10. Falling in to place: making sense of what you can do to reduce harm from falls





This is the annual adverse events report published by the Commission. The report covers adverse events reported by New Zealand's 20 district health boards (DHBs) and other providers, and is the tenth since national reporting began.

Adverse events (previous referred to as serious and sentinel events) are events which have generally resulted in harm to patients. This report details adverse events in DHBs in the year 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.


Patient information

All patients assessed as a falls risk must have this information explained while in hospital and reinforced at discharge.


Falls hurt - patient information (PDF, 1.3MB)
This page gives patients advice on how to stay safe while in hospital, with a checklist of safety tips; the second page contains information on preventing falls at home.




ACC home safety checklist 5218 (PDF, 134 KB)
This practical checklist is provided by ACC specifically for older people, because, as it says "You may know your home like the back of your hand, but the things you see every day could be potential hazards that can lead to a fall".




ACC Card: Vitamin D (PDF, 192 KB)
Is it right for you?



Stay on your feet and stay active (PDF, 665 KB)






Compass Health falls brochure (PDF, 432 KB)
This brochure explains strengthen and balance exercises.

Signalling system

Please ensure all three systems are changed on re-assessment.

Falls prevention is everyone's business:
  • Signals are a cue for action, not an action in themselves
  • Standardised resources
  • Engagement with patient and family
  • Traffic light colours that need to change to match the level of assistance needed


A patient-centred system to signal the level of mobility assistance needed makes in-patient falls prevention everyone's business (PDF, 1.03 MB)

Falls quality and safety markers

Last updated 9 February 2017.