Safer wards after coroner’s words about death from fall
PREVENTING falls on the wards is being taken more seriously than ever, hospital workers say, after an elderly patient slipped in his socks and later died.
The improvements have been made after health bosses received a letter from Ashford coroner Rachel Redman, expressing concern about falls by elderly patients at the William Harvey Hospital while wearing socks.
Mrs Redman wrote to the East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust following an inquest in March into the death of the 83-year-old Fredrick Gay at the hospital in May 2006, as a result of bleeding around the brain caused by a slight head injury.
The inquest heard how Mr Gay had been wearing socks and slipped on the ward.
The forms nurses at the William Harvey complete to assess how likely patients are to fall have now been updated, with the importance of appropriate footwear put in bold.
The hospital has also found a company to supply safe slippers to the on-site shop at a reduced price.
The Kentish Express was invited to the Richard Stevens stroke unit at the hospital last week to discuss what is being done. Osteoporosis co-ordinator Debbie Janaway said: “We have a very small amount of falls for a trust this size and a low level of serious falls, but we take them very seriously.
“A third of people over 65 fall every year and that includes people who are well.
“Elderly patients can also get confused and that is a big cause of falls.”
Mrs Janaway said the inquest has made staff think more about footwear on the wards.
“Some things are easier to enforce than others and we can only advise that people wear slippers but we are talking to staff about that.
“It was a very sad accident and something which is at the front of people’s minds.”
Therapy assistant Anne McGovern with a stroke patient