Safer wards af­ter coro­ner’s words about death from fall

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - OPINION -

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.”

Pic­ture: Barry Good­win pd1202662

Ther­apy as­sis­tant Anne McGovern with a stroke pa­tient

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