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CPSI Share                                                  
10/30/2012 6:00 PM

Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement

The second day of the five-day virtual forum on patient safety and quality improvement, hosted by the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, focused on falls prevention, with four key presentations highlighting tools and innovative strategies to prevent falls and injuries from falls.

Angela Muzyka (Accreditation and Patient Safety Coordinator) outlined the rollout of a falls prevention initiative in the Cypress Health Region.  This southern Saskatchewan health region has integrated community, mental health, home care, acute care, long-term care and EMS into their falls prevention initiative. An integrated approach has led to a reduction in injuries from falls through falls champions in long-term care, as well as using data and team huddles to make improvements. Collaboration amongst healthcare disciplines and community engagement are the foundation that have created a tidal wave of awareness and support for this initiative.  

The Saskatchewan Falls Collaborative, formed in April 2011 to reduce falls in long-term and home care by 20 per cent by March 2012, has made great strides in reducing injuries from falls. Dr. Jenny Basran (Assistant Professor, Head of Clinical Gerontology, University of Saskatchewan) summarized the strategies that are being used to sustain and spread fall prevention programs in Saskatchewan and provided valuable tools and resources available to support falls prevention initiatives. The five strategies outlined include: a universal falls prevention program; screening all patients; multi-factorial assessments for all patients at risk; creating personalized care plans; and to document, evaluate and educate.

A presentation by the BC Injury Research and Prevention Unit outlined the economics of falls prevention amongst seniors by focusing on the cost of falls and falls-related injuries and the current evidence on cost-effective interventions and available resources. Dr. Vicky Scott (Senor Advisor on Fall and Injury Prevention) says that falls are the leading cause of injury-related deaths and hospitalization for British Columbia seniors. Each year, more than 200,000 B.C. seniors will experience one or more falls, resulting in over 12,000 hospitalizations and more than 950 direct and indirect deaths. Scott advocated the need for integrating cost-effective, evidence-based fall prevention programs into existing services for seniors, such as making physical activities and exercise programs more affordable and accessible to all older adults.   

The French presentation was provided by Helene Riverin (Physical Therapist/Safety and Improvement Advisor, Safer Healthcare Now!) with an overview of the falls prevention strategies implemented by CSSS de la Vieille-Capitale and lessons learned that can be valuable for other groups building falls prevention programs.

Patient narratives set the stage for each day’s sessions. The emotional and touching stories from patients and their families reinforce the importance of the voice of the patient in advancing patient safety. Click here to view the collection of patient narratives being profiled throughout the week and during last year’s forum. 

The daily Resources to Help You Succeed presentation provided details on the 2012 Finding Balance campaign, launching on November 1st. This month-long falls prevention initiative provides education and awareness for seniors to check their medications, keep active, watch their step and speak up about dizziness.  Liza Sunley summarized the falls prevention tools available from Finding Balance Alberta, an initiative coordinated by Alberta Centre for Injury Control and Research.

Canada’s Virtual Forum on Patient Safety and Quality Improvement provides the opportunity to learn from thought-leaders who share the latest best practices.  It’s not too late to register to join just one or all of the sessions – and it’s free – all you need is an Internet connection. To view the program and register, click here.  Join the conversation and tweet chat to #patientsafetyforum, or send your comments and questions to